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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Genieo Goes Live

A new paradigm for keeping up with your online world is about to begin:  
Genieo, Personalized News Stream Platform.

Today, Genieo Innovation reveals the public beta version of Genieo, the first fully automatic newspaper styled homepage, featuring personalized news and information matched to the reader’s interests.

Genieo is a super useful desktop application (particularly for Windows platforms) marks a new era in information consumption - "Mashup Personalization".
I would like to share with you a sneak-preview of our technology and product.

First Look at Genieo
Ever imagined a place where all of your web content is tailor-made and automatically filtered for you, including your favorite news, blogs, videos, and even your Twitter and Facebook stream updates?
Genieo is a newspaper styled homepage, featuring personalized news and information matched to the your interests, looking as if it was especially designed for you.
Offering a new informational experience for all Internet users, Genieo adapts to your online behavior, saves you time and helps discover items of interest to you, all in a process which requires zero management and where your information remains completely private.

Genieo is shifting the paradigm for the consuming online content, from search to an automatic personal assistance. While both search and personal assistance depend on understanding user indentation, the automatic personal assistant paradigm works on your behalf  while it derives user intent without any real conversation with the user, simply by learning his online behavioral patterns instead of just a set of keywords.

What does it look like? 
The user receives items of interests that are filtered into numerous categories of content:

1. Top Headlines – These are latest headlines from a user’s most visited news portals, irrespective of topic.
2. Hot Items – Topic-focused. These include the items most read by other internet users. Also, Genieo delivers to you the most-read and popular news articles on topics of interest to you, beyond the news portals and blogs that you most frequently visit.
3. Follow-up items to previous news articles that you have read, so that you won't miss updates on stories you care about.
4. Up-to-the-minute updates on live events (i.e. sports, technology conferences, presidential speeches, award shows, etc) that a user is following.
5. Interesting Items – These news items combine the site-focused and topic-centered items, sending you the items of high interest to you from your most frequently visited sites.
6. Facebook and Twitter updates filtered to cater to your most recent topics of interest.

The Technology Behind Genieo
Genieo is a desktop application that identifies user interests based on browser activity.  Genieo has pioneered a new technology called Micro-Behavioral-Targeting (MBT), which continuously studies each individual user, follows his specific topics of interest as they form and evolve, and accordingly forms connections with sources across the web most relevant to the user's interests.  For example, a reader who is recently following the latest news about baseball player Derek Jeter would be updated not with general sports stories, or all articles about baseball or even all news about the New York Yankees, but with updated news relating to Jeter himself, that would range from news sites, blogs, tweets, and more.

Without using the Semantic Web standards, ontologies or dictionaries, Genieo automatically identifies and constantly updates topics of interest – so the user doesn’t have to predefine his topics or set categories.  To do this, Genieo auto discovers RSS feeds while the user browses the web and ranks those sources based on his/her interests.  Genieo then automatically manages those sources for the user (opt in/out from feeds) based on the individual changing interests.

Unlike other personalization solutions, Genieo does not collect or share any private information. As a desktop application, Genieo’s entire mapping and profiling process is performed solely on the user’s computer, and for the first time, you can enjoy personalization engine that does not involve any server side interaction. This way the user's private information remains always with the user, and none of it is shared in anyway with any third party or anywhere on the web. In addition, Genieo respects secure content and automatically disables itself once a user navigates to secure sites.

So, What is Genieo? A Sneak Preview

Thank you Caroline for presenting Genieo!
I cant believe its sunny out side in mid Feb!

Monday, February 15, 2010


In god we trust, all others we filter with Genieo

I had an email conversation today with Matt Marshall, Matt was curios about our "Coca-Cola formula", which is totally understood. As an experienced person in the online market Matt heard the promises about a real personalization technology so many times in the past, that i could only respect his doubts about how Genieo really works.
I am afraid I cannot give the full recipe for our “secret source” but you can download the application and test it yourself, and see if its worked for you guys.
I will try to explain how we do our filtering in a few sentences.

First of all, if you have doubts if Genieo really do the job, you are right! The task of filtering the similar documents with no user explicit inputs is indeed a difficult task! We have put a lot of effort into it (and are not done yet) I believe we have come a long way on this path. 

But, we approach the problem from a new and different perspective and angle and managed to avoid some of the pitfalls other has stumbled into.
We have carefully studied what other people have done in this field, their success and failures and learned from it.
I will explain how we do our filtering in a few sentences.
• We do not use explicit user feedback but do use implicit feedback about the user reading patterns that helps estimate if he likes an article or not.
• We will not bring the user a new article based on a single page he reads but will look for enough information to estimate where his area of interest is (if he reads about the Yankees we will focus on the Yankees, if he focus on Derek Jeter we will follow-up on that). 
The more you read the better the system accuracy is.
• We try to distinguish between a long and short terms area of interest and provide the article in the right context.
• We make sure to provide our users with relevant data from sources they trust so they should not be overflowed with articles.
• We do sometimes make mistakes but try to learn from them and improve ;)

On the algorithms side: 
We use semantic analysis and a simple set of clustering algorithms enhanced with Heuristics designed for the task.  We weight different page according to text, title, first paragraph & URL. 
We feed this analysis into our “topic extraction engine” and we later use those topics as a filter for new articles. We do not use a complex statistical model or comprehensive topics ontology we maintain our ontology on a user level.
I am afraid I cannot give the full recipe for our “secret source” but you can download the application and test it yourself, and see if you like it.

Thanks to Dotan Emanuel, Our VP R&D to address this question.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


My answer to Tom about Genieo

{Few days ago I asked Tom Foremski to try out Genieo.
Tom reply back to me with a great question; how Genieo is different from other RSS filtering system? Following is my answer to Tom}.

Tom, would you prefer the long or the short answer? ;)

The idea behind Genieo is to build a personalization framework that will keep user's privacy on one hand and will serve as a fully automatic environment for apps that adapts itself to the user's online behavior on the other. that's actually the dream I had in mind.
Its rely challenging to build a generic personalization engine that will fit all the applications around so we started with Facebook, Twitter and news widget.
I call it Ad-hoc personalized news widget, cause we build a topic widget for each individual and pull in the relevant items from all of his/her favorite sources. We also demote this widget as soon as it's no longer one of the user topic of interest. This way you can keep up with a story, with RSS feeds (as a reader with highlighted items that relevant for you) or just look into your personal news stream based on time line.

Genieo is unique in many levels from other personalization solutions, cause we built an engine that able to "read" (as it was human….oh well it's an ongoing process) each page you are browsing and figure out what is the main topic that interest you, and ignores templates that are different on each site. In many ways, is the same challenge that Google is trying to solve.
Without mapping or categorizing the web in advance, or using any Semantic Web standards or dictionaries, our engine needs to understand each page. After doing so, we discover the RSS feeds on each domain you visited and opt you in to a list of feeds. Then we rank those sources for you and filter items based on your changing topic of interest. Some of them are long term interest for the user (even if the user don’t read a lot about this specific topic) and some are short term interest, we are trying to learn this also.

We do not use only RSS feeds, we also do a mashup for the top headlines from your favorite portals (we figure this out automatically).
One of the philosophical issues with personalization is that you can be stock in your own world and in your own feedback loop. So we also discover new content for you by figuring out which topic interest your friends and at the same time it match online trends, when we find such a topic we bring it to your startpage, so you won't be the only one in a social party that is missing a buzz.

Currently we support Windows platform using IE/FF. Chrome will be support soon, and we considering to support Mac OS as well.
My6Sense doing a great job for iPhone RSS readers although you will have to manually manage the feed lists (opt in/out) and it takes a while till the app learns your reading habits.
Genieo have a bootstrapping process so you should be able to see the results right after the installations with zero management. The technology behind it is also different because it's fully automatic and private (runs only on the user's PC w/o any server side). In a way I would say that Genieo is a combination of Feedly and My6Sense for the laymen users that wants to keep up with their online life w/o the need to tell anything to the system.

I tried to make my reply as shorted as I can, I hope you had the energy to read till the end :)
Feel free to ask me any question you might have, as you can imagine I enjoy talking about what we do…

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Facebook and the Future of Free Thought - My Comment

Marshall Kirkpatrick has written on ReadWriteWeb entitled Facebook and the future of Free Thought‘ in which he explains the hard facts about news consumption. Then I read Chris Saad comment "Facebook and the future of News" The thoughtful post that Chris wrote just moved me as it seems that we share the same dream; a real personalized online experience, a digital place that will fit exactly to my needs and desired content based on my dynamic and changing interest and topics.

With this dream on the top of my mind I founded Genieo Innovation almost two years ago. I always hoped that the Personal Computer (PC) old concept will go through a revolutionary change and become a Personalized Computing. No matter which device you are using; Smart phones, Notebooks, iPAD, you name it. It should be simple, with less clicks and configurations, we should receive much-needed help getting things done. A smart tool that will learn what I want and when I want it and finally enable free form interaction.

I believe that we waited to realize the promise of personalization for too long, and now with Genieo, I hope that we can answer this promise with a very unique offering for the laymen users that want to join the "party" of an online personalized experience of their digital life without the need to manage a long list of RSS feeds or even to know what RSS is. For the advance users we offer a fully automatic way to keep up with their world and get simpler discovery and reader that doesn't based only on RSS feeds and doesn’t require to add or remove any of their sources, a reader that automatically adapt itself to their online behavior and interest.

Genieo develop the first fully automatic newspaper styled homepage, featuring personalized news and information matched to the reader’s interests.
Genieo is a desktop application that identifies user interests based on browser activity, then it filter for you, your favorite news, blogs, videos, and even your Twitter and Facebook stream updates with zero management and where your information remains completely private.
Genieo automatically identifies and constantly updates topics of interest – so the user doesn’t have to predefine his topics or set categories.
To do this, Genieo auto discovers RSS feeds (while the user browses the web) and ranks those sources based on his/her interests.
Genieo then automatically manages those sources for the user (opt in/out from feeds) based on the individual changing interests.

That's the first step for what I believe online users are going to experience in the future as a personalized web. Sorry if it sound like a sale pitch, but you just stepped into my world, my blog and my thoughts… You are more than welcome to give it a try

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Don’t Stereotype Me

Recommendation System: 
Collaboration Filtering vs. Profile-Based Personalization
By:Sol Tzvi

Personalization is not about a process or a concept but experience, the experience of personalization by real flesh-and-blood people; it cannot be reduced to a statistical model of future behavior based on probabilities and prediction alone. It must be lived, experienced, felt. It is an existential realm, complex and verging on the chaotic, not a forumla that can be reduced to an algorithm.

Personalized experience is part of the subjective field of everybody's life; it might include reflection or random thoughts, but it is not about thinking per se, it is about  feeling, emotions, the flow of sensations.

Because it increases revenues and enhances profits, businesses endeavor to know how to better serve customers. To that end, one new “killer feature” on the internet today is a quick match-up of available services to an online person as manifest through a pattern of clicks.

How can we force this digital box to think out of the box itself and discover a different domain of digital life, a different way of thinking?

In order to implement the mechanism of personalization, a system should predict what will capture the user's attention at any given time. But is the prediction based on past and future, or is prediction in itself a creative act? In the movie The Matrix,  the Oracle told Neo not to worry about the vase, and as Neo turns to look for a vase, he knocks one over, a vase of flowers shatters on the floor. Then the Oracle asks. "Would you have broken it if I hadn't said anything?"

Did the Oracle predict what was going to happen or did she manipulate Neo and cause him to break the vase? And does it really matter? Either way, Neo experienced her words as prophecy, a prophecy he fulfilled. But did the prophecy follow the action or forecast it?

Our individuality is unique
A system intended to make recommendations that are followed by a user must predict a person's choice based on a pattern of interests but also make a person choose – even unconsciously - to create a new behavior. Personalization happens when the new content is based on the person's profile, but does provides something genuinely new, different, and possibly unexpected. Is this a paradox?

There are currently two major methods for providing a working recommendation system:

-    Collaboration Filtering (CF);  recommendation agents employ prediction algorithms to provide users with options that match interests based on membership in a virtual community.

-    Profile-Based Recommendation; user history indicates a user's current or future desires.

Both methods have pros and cons. Combining both provides reasonably good predictions.

Collaboration filtering predicts a person’s interest by analyzing the behavior of the virtual tribe to which he belongs at any given moment. By being identified as one of many. by feeling as if we are known, we feel special ... but do we all really act the same, based on tribal membership, or do we remain unpredictable individuals?

Behavioral patterns

Can past behavior predict future behavior?
If you ask a person how he will react in a situation, although he can't really know, he will base his answer on his past, based on his intentions so far as they can be understood and a relationship between past behavior and future behavior.

Using previous experience is the best way to respond to a question that allows a user to predict his own future actions - we can imagine it, we can envision our self making a decision based on our beliefs, faith and hopes.

But even for ourselves, is a prior behavior really the best predictor of future interest? To some extant yes, probably, but because our intention is dynamically changing and ultimately beyond our full understanding, a personalization system based only on past behavior will not predict the genuinely novel, the really creative, it will not predict, that is, the next click, the click that says “BUY.”

We end as we began: personalized experience is subjective and always, always integrates feelings and emotions. So ... no, I do not like it when a big news portal stereotypes me based on my alleged virtual tribe. And because I don’t like it, I will do what I can to make an unpredictable decision ... to remain free, that is, to remain fully human.

What makes social media social?

What makes social media social?
"A common misconception is that social media is authored by a large group (for example that many many people contribute to a Wikipedia page). In practice, I think most social media objects are authored by individuals or small groups and are intended to be consumed by small or large groups (most Wikipedia pages attract only a handful of people to make regular contributions). In aggregate, these objects become collective goods — what most of the great stuff on the Internet is made of: archives, collections, discussions, data sets, and more collectively authored by potentially millions of people."

By Marc Smith

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The Birth of the Virtual Assistant

The Birth of the Virtual Assistant
In the near future, anyone who lives a connected lifestyle will be able to delegate their everyday tasks to intelligent virtual assistants that will coordinate, execute and simplify users’ lives.

Anatomy of the Virtual Assistant

The OS of virtual assistants will be the Internet itself, as Kevin Kelly postulated years ago. The brains will be AIs that are developed by software companies for both general purpose and targeted domains. The arms and legs will be web APIs (many of your favorite brands and services), and the connective tissue will be authentication protocols like OAuth and Open Social, and trust circles like those of Facebook.

Fact and Fiction: The Truth About Browser Cookies - Cookies - Lifehacker

Fact and Fiction: The Truth About Browser Cookies - Cookies - Lifehacker

Browser cookies are one of those technical bits of web browsing that almost everyone has some awareness of. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of browsing. Today we're here to clear up the confusion. Are Early Adopters Leading Move from Firefox to Chrome? Are Early Adopters Leading Move from Firefox to Chrome?

With the first month of 2010 in the books, Web statistics tracker Net Applications made headlines showing Google Chrome's browser market share exceeding five percent usage, taking tenths of a percentage point away from the top two most popular browsers on the Web, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox. But in our little niche, Internet Explorer has never had that huge a market share in terms of visitors to my site. Most of my peers utilize Firefox or Chrome, or if they are Macheads like myself, they trend toward Safari.

35 Mind Blowing Digital Paintings by Gary Tonge – Designzzz

35 Mind Blowing Digital Paintings by Gary Tonge – Designzzz