Portal FAQ

Hirshfield
Nov 14, 2021 · 8 min read

Brief information about our visionary concept.

Documentation for Developers | Get your own Portal for a 7-day free trial

What is Portal?

Portal is an open digital ecosystem providing users and creators with maximum privacy and control over their digital life.

Technically, Portal is a virtual computer in the cloud to install and run apps, store files and connect with other users.

No surveillance, no data theft, no advertising. Super easy to use.

What is the Vision behind Portal?

Usually, when we’re faced with complex problems, we default to thinking like everybody else. First principles thinking is a powerful way to help you break out of this herd mentality, think outside the box and find brand new solutions to familiar problems.

That’s what Portal is all about: Making user data sovereignty, which has failed as a fundamental idea of today’s Internet, the “new normal”.

Making apps truly usable and combinable, as there is no conflict of different operating systems, manufacturer requirements and business interests in Portal. And let Portal users always enjoy a frictionless user experience without ever having to think about what devices they’re using again.

What Problem does Portal Solve?

We all know that there is something wrong with the web. It has been occupied by tech giants in recent decades and is dominated by their business models of surveillance and manipulation. Both users and developers building applications for the web suffer from an unequal balance of power every day.

The web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division, swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.“ — Tim Berners-Lee

What’s the Users’ Pain with the Web?

There is no commercial platform on the web where you are not observed, your behavior not analyzed and influenced, often without you noticing it. You will only notice how many spies are on your tail if you use an ad blocker, for example, reporting the number of trackers.

“You’re The Product, Not The Customer” — Forbes

And as if being spied on 24/7 wasn’t enough to pay for using web services, almost all of us have to waste a lot of time managing lots of accounts and passwords every day.

According to studies, an average worker spends more than 10 hours per work year entering passwords [1], which may lead to password or account fatigue, a feeling experienced when being required to remember an excessive number of passwords. When logging in to countless platforms from different devices, things might get much more complicated.

Concepts such as single sign-on (SSO) can mitigate the problem of password/account fatigue, but are more of an imperfect solution to treat a symptom rather than fix the root cause of the problem.

What’s the Developers’ Pain with the Web?

Also, millions of developers building web-based applications are trapped between a handful of tech giants and regulators. Multiple operating systems and platforms make mobile app development a complex and costly business.

Many conflicting and changing product design requirements and regulations lead to increased development effort, repetitive tasks like security considerations distract from business logic. Growing data privacy and protection requirements, a direct consequence of and reaction to the Big 5’s surveillance businesses, further complicate developers’ lifes.

Last but not least, the major app stores, without which many developers hardly have a chance to monetize their products, determine what and how to develop.

How does Portal Help Change the Situation?

Portal aims to reverse roles on the web and return control to users and creators. Users are no longer the product in global data-driven businesses, but become sovereign creators and owners of their digital lives in an open ecosystem.

Each individual gets their own piece of the web, where their digital life, data, communications, applications, are located and where they have full control over their property at all times. Full data sovereignty is possible for everyone.

Why is Now the Right Time for Portal?

More and more people around the world have understood that they are the product in business models of tech giants and no longer want to accept this. Governments and politicians, especially in the European Union, finally see the need to limit the concentration of power on the Internet.

The will to change, to restore data sovereignty for everyone, grows among users and businesses with every data leak or algorithmic discrimination that becomes public and exposes dubious business practices with user data.
It can be assumed that almost every third active Internet user worldwide has already been concerned about the protection of their data [2]. This shows that the time has come to break new ground in digital life.

This is what makes Portal necessary. There also have been developments that make it possible in the first place. Cloud computing and infrastructure as a service have become standard tools for developers and form the fundamental technology Portal is based on.

In addition, Portal’s functionality requires an almost permanent Internet connection, a state that is just becoming a global reality.

What Solution does Portal Offer?

Portal transforms digital life for everyone by reversing existing roles: Users who are guests on the platforms of companies today will become owners of their own platform on the web, their Portals.

Companies and individual software developers, that provide Portal users with innovative apps for a wide range of applications are only guests and are prevented from taking over the Portal ecosystem or parts of it, like the Big 5 do with today’s internet.

While users today need a separate user account for each platform to use services, in the Portal ecosystem they will be using P2P apps they install on their Portals only. With them, they will do all the activities for which they need to visit third-party platforms or install apps today — communicate, consume, pay, etc.

What Does the Portal Ecosystem Look Like?

At the heart of the ecosystem is the Portal, which is owned by the user and for which he pays a monthly fee, because there is no advertising to finance the service. This is the most honest business relationship and ensures Portal’s independence. Technically, the Portal is a ready-to-go cloud computer with processor and memory.

Users access their Portal via a graphical user interface (GUI), using mobile devices such as smartphone and tablet via mobile app, with laptop or PC via web browser. The portal can be accessed flexibly from any terminal device, provided it has been paired.

Like any physical computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, each Portal can be customized with apps by third-party vendors, available in the Portal App Store as well as upgraded to have more storage, memory, or processing power.

Each user can connect their Portal to the Portals of other users. The Portal ecosystem ensures end-to-end encrypted channels, and P2P apps installed on both sides can use them for communication, transactions, and sharing of digital assets.

What is Portal’s Value Proposition for Users?

Portal provides each user with their own and composable ecosystem in the cloud, where applications, processing power, data and memory can be 100% customized to personal requirements.

The special thing about Portal: Users manage all apps and data with just one Portal account, instead of dealing with a multitude of accounts all over the Internet. The entire digital life of each user takes place in their own Portal, which ensures their full sovereignty over their own data and property. Tracking of user behavior and selling user data to third parties does not happen on the Portal ecosystem.

What makes Portal so easy and straightforward to use is a 100% frictionless user experience, no matter what device you use to access your Portal. In this, Portal differs significantly from today’s Internet, where user experiences often differ significantly between devices.

What is Portal’s Value Proposition for Developers?

Similar to users, web application developers suffer from a fragmented ecosystem of multiple mobile operating systems and app stores and many repetitive concerns that have nothing to do with the actual product they want to build. Hosting, encryption and certificates, account management, payment options, cookie banners are just a few topics that have been solved so many times again and again.

Portal takes care of these and many other aspects of web development, so developers don’t have to. They can rely on a fully managed platform that is built on industry standards and vastly simplifies app deployment. And they can benefit from a simple and fair sales channel — the Portal app store — to monetize their apps.

USP: What Makes Portal Special?

What distinguishes Portal from similar concepts and approaches, and especially from today’s Internet, are essentially three Unique Selling Propositions.

First, Portal is a counter-model to the ad-based economy, where users consume services for free but pay with personal data and are being influenced by advertising. To give users full data sovereignty and keep surveillance-based business models out of their digital lives, Portal is ad-free and funded exclusively by monthly subscription fees.

Second, the Portal ecosystem enables true decentralization of data and infrastructure through user owned and controlled Portals. Power and influence are not centralized on the platforms of tech companies, but are assigned to users, who gain self-determination and can communicate and exchange data and assets without a middle-man.

Third, Portal makes digital life fully device agnostic, meaning that users have seamless access to their Portal from any device, PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, anytime, anywhere. Pairing and unpairing is so simple and frictionless that entirely new use cases become possible.

Who are the people behind Portal?

The Portal team offers everything it takes to turn a visionary idea into reality, 30+ years of professional experience, extensive skills in marketing, business administration and engineering and informatics make a perfect mix.

The three founders cover the three key business areas of Growth, Technology and Operations and are highly committed to making Portal the next big thing.

How Much does Portal Cost?

Users pay a monthly fee for their Portal, which includes 1 cloud CPU and HDD storage of about 32 GB in the Basic Plan. Memory and CPU can be flexibly extended as needed (“pay as you scale”).

The fee for the Basic Plan will be under €10 per month, similar to popular media services like Netflix and Spotify. It remains to be verified whether this is the threshold for willingness to pay, or whether users are even willing to pay more for their Portal since it offers much more than a single service.

How to Get Your Own Portal?

Write us at contact@getportal.org to get your own Portal for a 7-day free trial, then decide if you want to run it for 10 bucks a month. Cancel at any time.

Portal

Your Data. Your Freedom. Your Portal.