Looking at Geni, new kind of family tree software

One of the guys, David Sacks who was CTO, who started PayPal has spun out and started another company. This one aimed, Geni, at helping you to document and share your family tree.

I have an interview with David and a demo too (I’m embedding the demo here).

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/05/PID_011455/Podtech_GENI_demo.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/technology/1513/demo-of-geni-more-social-genealogy-service&totalTime=232000&breadcrumb=f5c27384df1c4bee866fc00af7d650e7]

24 thoughts on “Looking at Geni, new kind of family tree software

  1. Am i the only one to note the casual loss of privacy here? You are offering your entire family’s name, data and e-mail address if they have one etc for the world to see. Once you are in you are in for good. Its worse than Face book which by the way states in their terms that they will own the rights to all the content (text and photos) you post to use globally for ever. It is insane that we are giving away our personal data like this when our founding fathers and generations before us fought so hard to respect and maintain a certain level of privacy only seen in developed democratic nations. Think about that for a second? Its not such a great thing after all.

  2. Am i the only one to note the casual loss of privacy here? You are offering your entire family’s name, data and e-mail address if they have one etc for the world to see. Once you are in you are in for good. Its worse than Face book which by the way states in their terms that they will own the rights to all the content (text and photos) you post to use globally for ever. It is insane that we are giving away our personal data like this when our founding fathers and generations before us fought so hard to respect and maintain a certain level of privacy only seen in developed democratic nations. Think about that for a second? Its not such a great thing after all.

  3. The privacy issue has been ongoing since January and Geni fails miserably to adjust it’s unethical business practice

    Geni privacy statement says “We will not spam you or your relatives. Detailed account settings allow you to control which emails you receive from us.”

    When you add a relative in Geni, you can edit anything on that profile except the notification and privacy settings.

    Geni will by default spam your relatives until they validate their email accounts and sign up to Geni in order to unsubscribe to the “notifications”. That’s how they got 5 million “accounts” in 5 month! People were forced to sign up to make the spam stop.

    A consequence of this forced membership is that a resentful member can easily create havoc in the tree. Geni hasn’t developed any protection against malicious editing/postings in form of a basic change log

    Geni are so shooting themselves in the foot with this highly unethical business practice and creates quite a stir in their own forum.

  4. The privacy issue has been ongoing since January and Geni fails miserably to adjust it’s unethical business practice

    Geni privacy statement says “We will not spam you or your relatives. Detailed account settings allow you to control which emails you receive from us.”

    When you add a relative in Geni, you can edit anything on that profile except the notification and privacy settings.

    Geni will by default spam your relatives until they validate their email accounts and sign up to Geni in order to unsubscribe to the “notifications”. That’s how they got 5 million “accounts” in 5 month! People were forced to sign up to make the spam stop.

    A consequence of this forced membership is that a resentful member can easily create havoc in the tree. Geni hasn’t developed any protection against malicious editing/postings in form of a basic change log

    Geni are so shooting themselves in the foot with this highly unethical business practice and creates quite a stir in their own forum.

  5. These guys will die a fiery death if they don’t stop their asinine privacy violations. They’re REALLY doing a good job pissing off their loyal userbase, the hard-core genealogists and most every user that gets invited. Take a quick tour of the forum and see what people have to say. For a better insight into the company, take a look at the “official” responses to these concerns. The latest one exposed thousands of private profiles to the world through their search engine. When the users caught on to the privacy breach, their official comments come down to “it’s a feature.” Even David Sacks doesn’t catch a clue in his responses and is relying on sleight-of-hand to skip past this one. Sorry David-your team got the smackdown by eBay, and it’s just a matter of time until someone does it to Geni.

    Web 2.0? Maybe. Business Operations 1.0? Not even alpha stage yet.

  6. These guys will die a fiery death if they don’t stop their asinine privacy violations. They’re REALLY doing a good job pissing off their loyal userbase, the hard-core genealogists and most every user that gets invited. Take a quick tour of the forum and see what people have to say. For a better insight into the company, take a look at the “official” responses to these concerns. The latest one exposed thousands of private profiles to the world through their search engine. When the users caught on to the privacy breach, their official comments come down to “it’s a feature.” Even David Sacks doesn’t catch a clue in his responses and is relying on sleight-of-hand to skip past this one. Sorry David-your team got the smackdown by eBay, and it’s just a matter of time until someone does it to Geni.

    Web 2.0? Maybe. Business Operations 1.0? Not even alpha stage yet.

  7. To Ramesh (but others as well)

    Have you been seeing some of the useful features in Geni?

    I think part of your issue is something that’s annoying with any genealogy software but Geni does a fairly good job.

    I am getting birthday notices among other items.

    I agree – it’s not a site that I visit regularly; however, they have added some very useful features (such as picture sharing which my wife’s second cousin has used) as well as an update whenever other users use it.

    The key thing here is to invite others from your family to add to it. Once I did this, I found many family members seriously adding to it. The other nice benefit is that it’s in one location for everyone to see (previously, one person would hold onto it and no one else would be able to see it).

    Things that are missing are pretty big though:

    1. Ability to print it.
    2. Ability to export to the standard Genealogy format (can’t recall the name – they have it in beta but it’s not quite there yet) – my biggest concern is losing all of this valuable information one day.

  8. To Ramesh (but others as well)

    Have you been seeing some of the useful features in Geni?

    I think part of your issue is something that’s annoying with any genealogy software but Geni does a fairly good job.

    I am getting birthday notices among other items.

    I agree – it’s not a site that I visit regularly; however, they have added some very useful features (such as picture sharing which my wife’s second cousin has used) as well as an update whenever other users use it.

    The key thing here is to invite others from your family to add to it. Once I did this, I found many family members seriously adding to it. The other nice benefit is that it’s in one location for everyone to see (previously, one person would hold onto it and no one else would be able to see it).

    Things that are missing are pretty big though:

    1. Ability to print it.
    2. Ability to export to the standard Genealogy format (can’t recall the name – they have it in beta but it’s not quite there yet) – my biggest concern is losing all of this valuable information one day.

  9. I created a family tree of 7 generations with about 200+ people linked in the family. It was working fine, but suddenly, tree was not drawn. And all current spouse relations became ex relations and I myself does not have a proper parent structure as per Geni, photos are messed up, and so on. I spent about 16 hours on Geni to do come up with such a big family tree. Now, I stopped using it.

    I am not complaining about my problem, but trying to highlight that after taking so much pain(to draw the entire tree), I am not willing to use it any more.

  10. I created a family tree of 7 generations with about 200+ people linked in the family. It was working fine, but suddenly, tree was not drawn. And all current spouse relations became ex relations and I myself does not have a proper parent structure as per Geni, photos are messed up, and so on. I spent about 16 hours on Geni to do come up with such a big family tree. Now, I stopped using it.

    I am not complaining about my problem, but trying to highlight that after taking so much pain(to draw the entire tree), I am not willing to use it any more.

  11. This site reminds me of the people you linked to before whose van caught on fire in the middle of their nationwide promotional tour. I can’t remember the name of the company, though: it’s been a long time since I visited the site. :-(

  12. This site reminds me of the people you linked to before whose van caught on fire in the middle of their nationwide promotional tour. I can’t remember the name of the company, though: it’s been a long time since I visited the site. :-(

  13. vermonter: strange, same thing is happening here. We’re working on it. The other videos on scobleshow.com play just fine. This one looks like it’s downloading too. Weird.

  14. vermonter: strange, same thing is happening here. We’re working on it. The other videos on scobleshow.com play just fine. This one looks like it’s downloading too. Weird.

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