Grokr, a startup founded by former McAfee CEO Srivats Sampath is aiming to be the Google Now of iOS. Described as an intelligent personal assistant, Google Now looks to give you relevant information at “just the right time”:

It tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, when the next train will arrive as you’re standing on the platform, or your favorite team’s score while they’re playing. And the best part? All of this happens automatically. Cards appear throughout the day at the moment you need them.

Cool! Creepy? Both. This cool service didn’t exist for iOS until Grokr arrived. 


Grokr tries to personalize its answer to a user based on a whole load of data it can gather through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more than 50 other sources. After a few weeks in use, Grokr can tell where you live, where you work, what kind of music you like and what teams you follow. It can even figure out a user’s ethnicity and demographic data though it keeps all of this anonymized.

Then it pairs what it knows about a user with a knowledge base built on top of Freebase, which is also used in Google’s own Knowledge Graph. Grokr has built out its knowledge base with another 50 sources including Bing, Factual, Yelp, Songkick and others. Grokr has more than 700 million facts in its database, covering 25 million entities, which represent the meaning behind all kinds of words it comes across.

How far will it go?

Sampath showed [Ryan Kim] how Grokr figured out he’s South Asian based on his name and then gave him a headline about the need for South Asians to get tested for diabetes, which Sampath actually has.

Ok that’s creepy.