By David Sacks, CEO
Hi and welcome to Geni, a new website with an ambitious goal: to create a family tree of the whole world!
You can start creating your family tree on our homepage through (what we hope is) a fun simple interface. It’s extremely fast to build your tree by clicking the yellow arrows in the direction you want to add new family members. As you’ll notice, there is no software download required, no lengthy signup process, and no fees.
There is another key advantage of Geni: When you add a relative, you can also enter his or her email address. In that case your relative will receive an email inviting him or her to join your tree. By clicking a link, your relative will be taken to the same family tree you’ve been working on, but re-centered from that relative’s point of view.
Your relative can then add other relatives, and so on. Your tree will continue to grow as relatives invite other relatives.
Whereas conventional family trees show only your direct ancestors, your Geni tree includes siblings, spouses, cousins, aunts and uncles, and their families. The hope is to identify not just your common ancestors but all your living relatives and in-laws. This makes Geni different from the many great genealogy sites which already exist.
Once you’ve built your tree, you can create an individual profile which allows other relatives to learn more about you and stay in touch. Over time Geni plans to layer on additional family networking features like photo sharing so you can stay in touch with your family network.
We know that privacy is extremely important whenever family is concerned. So we’ve set a rule that the only people who can see your tree and your profile are the people in your tree. Over time, Geni will roll out more specific privacy settings so you can determine exactly who sees your information. We know this will only become more important as trees get larger.
Many other features are in the works and will be introduced in the coming months. For instance, we know you want to be able to print your tree in a high-quality way! And when separate trees start to overlap, we will want to give you the option of merging them.
As you may have noticed, there is a little “beta” symbol next to the Geni logo. Basically, this is industry shorthand for saying “our site is new, so please bear with us if you encounter any problems!” We will work hard to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.
So what do you think? We really want to hear from you, our users, not only about any problems you encounter but also about any feature ideas or requests that you have. You can email us directly by clicking the “Contact Us” link in the footer of the website, or feel free to leave comments to this blog, which will continue to be the official place for news and announcements about Geni.
We hope you enjoy Geni!