As an officer in Mamram, the Israel Defense Forces elite computer unit, Lior Aharoni was in charge of all the army’s network security. It was a singularly important but grinding job, and Aharoni dreamt of the day when he’d be able to shed his uniform and get back to what made him become a computer programmer in the first place, which was, simply put, fun.
“When I started out, I was 13,” he said. “I didn’t set out to become a security specialist. I made games, animation engines, things that people use to have fun with.”
When the moment came and Aharoni gave his final salute, he lost little time getting back into the old groove. Together with his brother and a friend, he built EQuala, a new social radio app that allows users to listen to the same music as their friends. Utilizing Facebook’s ubiquity, the app collects information pushed to the social network from a host of popular music service —Spotify, Songza, Myspace—and compiles a musical profile for each friend in your network. Then, comparing musical DNAs, it helps users discover and enjoy new music simply by adhering to those in their social circle that have good taste. The algorithm is so sophisticated that if you love your buddy’s taste in hip-hop, say, but can’t stand his obsession with Journey, EQuala will deliver only the stuff that appeals.
The app has been on the iTunes store for two months now, and was downloaded by thousands of early adopters. It is supported by an initial funding from the investor Joey Low, founder of Israel at Heart. If you’d like IDF-powered technology to reshuffle your tunes, check it out.