By: Gigaom
It pays to know you: Interest graph master Gravity gets $10.6M
Interest graph specialist Gravity has raised $10.6 million to expand its business of personalizing the web for consumers. Thanks to a semantic engine that associates the content site visitors read with related topics, Gravity says it can show readers just what they want to see.

Gravity, the company whose interest graph technology powers delivery of personalized for a number of prominent web publishers, has raised a $10.6 million Series B round. The new funding comes from GRP Partners, as well existing investors Redpoint Ventures and August Capital. If personalization is the future of web content, there are worse bets to make than Gravity.

As I explained in March when, Gravity has built a semantic-analysis engine that tries to gauge a site visitor’s interest by looking at more than the articles that person reads. Thanks to an expansive database of topics and a hybrid man-machine machine learning system that takes into account behavior as well as content, Gravity can determine other topics that might be of interest even if those connections aren’t visible to the naked eye. The result of this analysis is called an interest graph, which is like a social graph only that’s concerned with interests rather than people.

Currently, Gravity claims its total body of graph data exceeds 18 million megabytes, or 18 terabytes.

Of course, interest graphs are useful for more than just automatically presenting visitors with the news content they’re interested in. Gravity also has a product for advertisers to better target potential customers, and an analytics service so publishers can get in-depth visualizations of who’s reading their content and what content works better than other content.

However, the obvious elephant in the room when talking about interest graphs is privacy and how collect and analyze user data without crossing any ethical guidelines. This will become even more of an issue as web platforms try to share data across services in order to create a more unified browsing experience in which interest graphs follow users around the web to inform personalization algorithms at every step. Here’s Gravity Co-Founder and CTO Jim Benedetto, along with privacy attorney Ashlie Beringer, discussing the issue with me at our Structure: Data conference last March.

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