Let's Browse: A Collaborative Web Browsing Agent

Henry Lieberman
Neil Van Dyke
Adriana Vivacqua

Media Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA, USA

Web browsing, like most of today's desktop applications, is usually a solitary activity. Other forms of media, such as watching television, are often done by groups of people, such as families or friends. What would it be like to do collaborative Web browsing? Could the computer provide assistance to group browsing by trying to help find mutual interests among the participants?

Let's Browse is an experiment in building an agent to assist a group of people in browsing, by suggesting new material likely to be of common interest. It is built as an extension to the Web browsing agent Letizia, which acts as an advance scout. Letizia does a real-time, incremental breadth first search around the user's current page, and filtering candidate pages through profiles learned from observing the user's browsing activity. Let's Browse features automatic detection of the presence of users, automated "channel surfing" browsing, and dynamic display of the user profiles and explanation of recommendations.

  • Web Format [HTML]
  • RTF Format [Microsoft Word, Mac and PC] [2 MB]
  • PostScript Format [3.5 MB]
  • See also Letizia, a single-user Web browsing agent.