Only a few days ago, several Spanish media players such as Cinco Dias, Baquia and El Pais Published articles about a new social search engine called Gennio. Not only does the engine sport an innovative line of services, but it also stands out by being a search engine with truly Spanish roots. Jose Mercader’s idea, born, nursed and raised in Spain, is the first social search engine of Spanish origin. Although born in Spain, the makers behind Gennio hope to win the hearts of demanding search engine users not only in Spain, but also in other markets, such as the English, French, German and Italian. Gennio is product of the Web.20 era, based on our latest tendency to not just communicate, but to collaborate online.
Is the engine really different?
Instead of boring you with a long and detailed summary, we opted to “hear” directly from Jose Mercader, Gennio’s Founder and General Director.
Multilingual Search: In a few lines, why Gennio?
Jose Mercader: It’s an idea that I have been nurturing since the year 2000.
During these years, I observed that the big search engines and their sophisticated algorithms are incapable of offering the user optimal results. The studies I conducted led me to the conclusion that the only solution depended significantly on the user, who is the only one capable, in a collaborative manner, of classifying links, producing results quality never seen until now.
MLS: What does Gennio have that makes it different from other search engines?
JM: Gennio is different for that very reason; because Gennio is the result of the collective intelligence of thousands of users who know how to search and classify information much better and faster than the traditional search engines.
MLS: Why tagging?
JM: It’s the best tool available to the user in this collaborative world for classifying information in a simple yet sophisticated manner.
MLS: How does Gennio work?
JM: Two ways:
• One by downloading a favorites folder (a selective download where one can specify for some links to be completely private)
• And the other by copying links to one’s “gennes” while browsing/searching through Gennio or through the GennioTool toolbar, without having to be directly in Gennio to tag the links.
MLS: What makes Gennio stand out amongst other social search engines that use tagging, other than the fact that Gennio is in Spanish?
JM: You could say that Gennio is more than a social search engine. The software behind Gennio is a complex fusion of different data bases and a variety of programming tools (AJAX). 30% of the petitions execute more than 12 different requests when a keyword is identified that can offer vertical and highly relevant results.
For example, if we search for a hotel in Madrid, Gennio will propose an alternative local result of Madrid hotels, with a button for making a free phone call so that the user can make a reservation from her PC for free.
Moreover, we offer an impressive job offers and news section which soon will also work with the “gennes” tagging method.
And of course, it is the first search engine in the world to be in Spanish and made by Spaniards.
MLS: What is the GennioTool?
JM: It’s a bar that allows for direct access to Gennio services and is installed in a minute, allowing one to copy his “gennes” all of the links you discover and find interesting, while surfing the web without having to be on the Gennio website.
MLS: ¿What are your expectations for the search engine based on how tagging is evolving in the Spanish market?
JM: Make the users fall in love with a well-made product that allows them to search in a positive and collaborative manner. Given the current pace, we will count on a community of 1,000,000 users by the end of the year.
MLS: What advantages and disadvantages do the Web 2.0 trends of the Spanish market pose to Gennio?
JM: It’s clear that web 2.0 is starting to be a reality and it jeans a true explosion by the end of 2006. From my point of view, I only see advantages, since web 2.0 is not only a technological evolution, but an evolution of ideas, an excuse for doing new things which in a way couldn’t have been done before. This will create an arena for another huge movement for spectacular garage born projects and I hope that the Spanish can be in on it.
MLS: Do you plan on launching the engine in other languages or countries?
JM: We are working on versions for the English, French, German and Italian markets and hope to launch in these countries starting June, where we will be established by the end of the year.
MLS: Are you planning to incorporate a pay-per-click advertising program? And/or other advertising novelties that you want to tell us about?
JM: We are about to incorporate an advertising formula that will be more social for the user and most importantly less invasive and more relevant to his/her searches.
MLS: Tell us a little bit about Gennio Local (Local Gennio). How does it work? What perspective do you think it has?
JM: We are about to complete the application that allows the user to copy, evaluate and review links of local character, much like they can do with “gennes” in the main search engine. This is what will really set us apart from Google, Yahoo or Yellow Pages.
The user will be able to review and comment on whether a restaurant has offered a notable service, or whether the purchase we made at the local florist was satisfactory. Ultimately, it is the user who will decide what is good or not so good.
MLS: What is your market niche?
JM: Our niche is the demanding, non-conformist user, who sets the trends that others copy and quickly transform into mass movements.
We direct ourselves more than anything towards the users who are the future of the internet, kids, youth, working simultaneously with today’s users, such as the elderly that join the Internet more and more every day.
MLS: What will you do the spread the word about Gennio?
JM: More than anything, a presence in the Universities, explaining the benefits of using tagging as an effective alternative. Although we will also analyze the possibility of going to schools. Moreover, we are very interested in organizing events that will allow us to approach the user—for example our presence in the event organized by Red.es on Internet Day (May 17th in Spain).
MLS: What future do you foresee for this and other products based on online social participation, both in Spain and in the rest of the world?
JM: There will be new indispensable models which will make everything a lot more fun, wherein the user will truly be King.
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