CNET news contributor Rafe Needleman, expressing skepticism about the launch of the Genieo home page service in March 2010, said he first thought it was destined to join other aspiring home page tools that quickly died out, but then observed happily “after using it for a week, I find it surprisingly useful.”
Yes, Genieo Innovation, a private internet startup in Herzilya Pituach, Israel, is making a good first impression on this writer too, five minutes after download, but it is hard to spell! Genieo, which PC World named one of the top 100 productivity programs in 2010, is a personalized newspaper styled home page that aims to deliver to the user information and news that is of interest to that user, based on past, and ongoing online activity. The program is a desktop application that operates only on the user’s pc and any personal information of the user remains only on their pc, not in the much talked about Cloud, a point co-founder Sol Tvzi makes repeatedly when describing what the program does.
Genieo uses Micro-Behavioral-Targeting (MBT) technology to continuously analyze the user’s interest as they browse, and also evaluate how the user’s interests change and evolve over time, in order to bring information and media into the home page that the user will want to see. Genieo explains “MBT continuously studies the user’s individual topics of interest from his browsing activity and follows them as they form and evolve, and accordingly forms connections with sources of information across the web that are most relevant to the user’s interest”.
The Genieo program aims to solve the dilemma of the miracle and curse of the internet..lots and lots of information that we all want, but not the time, or interest to manage all the tools to get it. Genieo’s biggest selling point is that it functions with very little input from the user, except for their browsing activity, but the user gets information that is relevant and interesting.
For example, Genieo automatically finds and ranks RSS feeds of interest as the user browses and displays them in a box, and also displays listing of favorite websites, birthday reminders from Facebook, and a personalize magazine. This is not a static process like entering a favorite website into delicious.com. The RSS feeds and favorite websites and personalized magazine change as the user’s interests change.
After installing Genieo it takes about 20 minutes for the program to scan through the user’s browsing history and it then produces a newspaper style home page that brings in RSS feeds, news, blogs, videos, and updates from Facebook and Twitter. Users are able to indicate the article is “not interesting” or block it and this will change future streams.
Genieo did not work on the Mac when it first launched in 2010 but on January 26th the company announced at the 27th annual Macworld 2011 that its free personalized home page service is now available for Mac users.
The about.com reference website’s Reader’s Choice Awards , which ends on March 12th , includes Genieo in the productivity category, along with Conduit, Lifehacker, GoogleDocs, and Mint.