When it comes to the Internet, the shift has been moving toward more customization for years. As users, though, we’re not content with just throwing RSS feeds onto a page and calling it a day. We want information that’s specially curated for us.
When you’re on the go, catching up with social feeds via applications such as my6sense is somewhat easy. This “intuition-based” customization learns over time the things that you tend to read and then provides content based upon those preferences. For many of us, we spend far more time in front of our computers than we do away from them and an option such as this has been sorely lacking.
Genieo is an application for your Mac that was built to answer a specific question — what is personalization? The answer, according to CEO Sol Tzvi is that it’s an entire experience, rather than just a few bits of filtered news. Rather than having to manually insert and remove RSS feeds, then sift through the stories included in them that you wouldn’t necessarily care about, Genieo learns what you love by watching what you read.
As you can see, I’ve connected Genieo with my Twitter and Facebook accounts so that I can share stories. But going a step further, Genieo has pulled in birthday reminders from my Facebook as well. You can choose to show or hide various sections of the page and there are some unique sharing options (a personal magazine cover, akin to Papre.li) as well.
What I find interesting about Genieo is that it has this tendency to pull in stories from sites that I might not have otherwise visited. While there are stories presently showing from TNW, Churchdrop and Engadget, I’ve seen some great content pop in from other sites that I’ve never been to, as well. Oh, and if something pops up that you don’t like, you can flag it as not interesting or remove the feed from the specific site entirely.
There are other parts that I’ve grown to love about it, as well. Visiting a question on Quora, for example, will cue Genieo to follow that question and wait for a relevant answer to be given. Once something has gotten a significant amount of positive action, Genieo will remind me to revisit the question by placing it onto my page with a snippet of the chosen answer.
The app runs natively on your Mac, so if you happen to be a browser switcher your homepage will stay current to your preferences. It does take a couple of days to really understand the types of stories that interest you, but you’ll start seeing fresh, relevant content from the first few minutes that you use it.
While I’m a big fan of customization, I’ve seen very few applications that do it right. Genieo for Mac is exactly what iGoogle should have been but never was. With support for nearly every browser and an algorithm that works continually, it’s become my favorite way to relax and read on my Mac.