Apple’s dumb Genius finally gets smarter

Chicago (IL) – The Genius recommendation
engine Apple promised would provide users with personal
recommendations for movies and TV shows has finally gone live.
We can all collectively breathe a sigh of relief.

The smarter Genius recommendations engine
now provides personalized suggestions for music, movies and TV show found
in users’ iTunes libraries. If you opt-in, Genius engine sends
anonymous metadata about items in your iTunes library to Apple’s
servers. Gathering intelligence about personal viewing habbits of over
half a billion iTunes users enables the engine to recommend entertainment content from
the iTunes Store that goes great together with what you already own or
have listened/viewed. But smarter Genius has had somewhat rocky launch.

Apple had advertised smarter Genius prior to the iTunes 8.1 release, promising movies and TV show recommendations. Following
mounting criticism from commentators around the web who insisted that Genius in iTunes 8.1 still only worked with music files, Apple has removed smarter Genius description from the iTunes page . And now that the feature finally went live, Apple hasn’t restored its description on the iTunes page. It appears to me that the company’s marketing department is out of
touch with the iTunes development team.

In fact, it is this practice that forced me to call the latest iTunes release a placebo upgrade. I wasn’t alone, though. Many users around the web bashed Apple for advertising a smarter Genius only to fail deliver it on time. You may remember that TG Daily joined heated debate in our rant about dumb Genius. In that article, I  criticized Apple’s practice of advertising features in advance
only to pull them last minute without explanation.

It is vocal criticism like this that motivated Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr to come clean, stating smarter Genius was present in iTunes 8.1, it just wasn’t enabled yet. Neumayr said, “The feature isn’t live yet, but it will be in the coming days,” to Macworld.

Interestingly, Apple has not yet added back a description of smarter Genius
to the iTunes page, despite the fact that it’s now live in
the iTunes jukebox application. Although we welcome Apple’s move to bring the technology to consumers by enabling it, we
couldn’t help but notice the company’s marketing department is a bit
out of touch with their development teams — at least when it comes to a smarter Genius in iTunes 8.1.

You can now use a smarter Genius feature in iTunes 8.1 for movies and TV shows. Just select either section in your iTunes library and turn on the Genius feature to receive iTunes Store recommendations that go great together with content in your library. We can now all breathe a sigh of relief — Genius is no longer dumb.

OVER HALF A BILLION iTUNES USERS PROVIDE INTELLIGENCE FOR GENIUSThe Genius recommendations engine works by sending anonymous information about your iTunes
library to Apple’s servers. This set of data is
combined from all users, then it’s mined to
provide iTunes Store
recommendations that go great together with content in your library — based on real-world selections by people.    Read our previous rants about Apple’s practice of advertising features in advance only to pull them out last minute without any explanation.