As a faithful denizen on planet Facebook, one of the 250-million strong population and the largest in the virtual world, chances that you have heard about Genieo would be very rare. Thought you must be aware of the latest ‘prod’ from Facebook ‘suggesting’ that you make Facebook your homepage. What is the big deal, you ask. For all you know, you must have already clicked on it to kill the annoying little band on top, and got on with your business, uploading photographs, updating status and pecking away in the FB Chat module. The personal homepage has been the most coveted virtual – estate that has seen the established players jostling with equally ‘competent’ players – the early ones like PageFlakes, Netvibes and the leviathans like iGoogle and Yahoo Page. All of them thrived on the feeds and widgets route, though iGoogle by its virtue of its sheer reach and recognition happens to be a major portion of users’ starting browser page. While the popular Flipboard and My6Sense ensured maintaining your sticky screen for your mobile, analysing your RSS feeds and the links that your Twitter and Facebook friends share, and later entrants like paper.li and Feedly is flourishing on your web screens, Genieo stands a step above all of them in ensuring that your webpage stays personal in its entirety.
Sol Tzvi, the Israeli tech-entrepreneur and team who is behind this latest entrant, helps you personalise your homepage that is completely based on a completely free downloadable app that resides in your drive and DOES NOT act as a transmitting beacon of your personal choices to any home server. It automatically pulls in stories after installing itself , though seemingly less customisable than the current players, but is a breeze as it goes around ‘educating’ itself on your browsing habits, and is proficient to know the difference between between a “fleeting interest and an enduring one.” The one that we tried out was blazing fast in getting to know the user’s browsing habits in an hour, and the beauty is that you can also manually intercede and shut off subscription streams. You can also turn off Genieo when you don’t want it to be around, which is a big plus. The key word, we feel about Genieo, apart from being superior in learning and building on your tastes is the fact that it is totally non-intrusive. We seem to be repeating this, over and over again – because that is significant when compared to the willingness you opt in, as you opt for Facebook as your Homepage. But as the application is associated with the hardrive, you would have to install it separately on all your machines. I guess one could live with that.
In Sol Tzvi’s words, “Genieo Innovation, the company, pioneers a personalization platform which can analyze user’s behavior and then enable software to automatically adapt services to individual users based on their own choices. This way, we believe we give people freedom in their digital life.” Sol Tzvi has held a variety of R&D and marketing positions in leading hi-tech industry companies in the past 12 years. She also held several top managerial positions at Microsoft – at both the Israeli branch and the Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, and she led Microsoft’s strategic marketing approach for information security and privacy in North America. Prior to founding Genieo Innovation, Sol Tzvi has acted as a private equity investments strategic consultant for several startup companies. She has also published three professional books and numerous articles.