At first Geni.com seems like a neat Web 2.0 application, and that’s it. Great, we make a family tree. We’ve seen that before.
But this truly has some awe inspiring potential when you consider its viral nature. I can start building a little mini-tree. I may not know it, but my brother in law may be building one as well. As soon as I connect myself to him by entering his email, I suddenly get hooked up to his work in progress. Take this out horizontally about 6 generations, and you suddenly have a global project for mapping an entire generation.
Sure, there are limitations because none of our grandparents are going to hop on and create the same type of network effect. But the next generation, and so on and so on….
Now think of an overlay of MySpace, Friendster, or Facebook. Include Google Maps. You start to see potential to link everything and everyone together. I’d be surprised if this doesn’t turn into a Google property at some point. We have all this info on everyone, we just never connected anyone with anything stronger than a MySpace friend list. Using the familytree as a way to connect people and information will have powerful implications in the future.