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under the hood

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Under the Hood

It's our job to craft good tools for connecting people. This page describes why we're proud of the system we've developed. Our system is very easy to use by just jumping in, but if you're the kind of person who likes to look under the hood of a well-running car, read on...

Protecting Anonymity, Laziness & Privacy.

Users never need expose an email or phone number. When they want to connect with another user, they send their message through our server, and the response is sent back: no one needs to share an email address or phone number in order to communicate, though typically at some point in their communications people will do so.

We also believe that protecting laziness is important: people don't want to regularly remember to check a carpool website to see if a new match has signed up. Our system lets either person make the connection: after you sign up, people that sign up after you can email you. You don't need to check the site.

We are serious about privacy concerns: we don't distribute emails to anyone, nor keep them for purposes other than use of the system and feedback shortly after.

Combining Computer Sorting and Human Judgment

If 200 people sign up for a carpool or room-share, you don't want to be forced to read all 200 posts. On the other hand, for a computer to find the perfect match from 200 possibilities is an impossibility: people have preferences that we can't take account of, and filling out a form that allowed you to design a perfect match would be very time-consuming and difficult for people who don't like computers. Our solution combines the best of both worlds: we use a variety of search algorithms to let the computer do the hard work, sorting through hundreds of posts, to produce the top few. The computer does not make the final decision, but lets the user read through the top few posts, rather than potentially hundreds of posts. The better we predict the parameters by which people would choose their match, the easier it will be for event attendees to find a match. But, if someone has peculiar needs, they are not out of luck; they simply have to read a few more posts.

Bi-Directional Searching

Classifieds and carpools often suffer from a single problem: no one wants to sign up first, everyone wants to read and respond to other people's ads. Our system works differently. Searches and posts are combined.

Integrating Multiple Searches

Driving to a conference then looking for a hotel roommate? Our system lets you first search for one person for both parts of your journey. If you can't find a perfect match, you can instantly split your search to look for a carpool, and then a roommate.

Our system also lets you handle other complex searches: let's say you are unsure whether you want to fill your car and drive, or leave your car at home and get a ride. The search shows you both at once, filtering the responses based on other answers.

Users don't need to understand the details: the searches will just work, step by simple step.

Critical Mass

Carpooling systems often fail, simply because too few people use them. Our solution is to work with events that want to have a better networked, more environmentally friendly event. Each event has enough drivers going to the same place at the same time, so the system works. Our dream is to help thousands of events, and eventually leverage event-carpooling into an anywhere-to-anywhere system. But we're starting with the realistic and practical.

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