Genius, gone from rap song explanation site to annotator of the entire Internet, has today launched a revamped version of the website, the iOS app, and for the first time ever, an Android app.
The redesign brings with it a new brand design, color palette and enhanced song pages, as well as a new featured section for popular songs, across multiple genres, and most popular non-musical content.
Genius, despite growing to be Alexa’s 536th most popular site in the United States, has always felt a little grass-roots in its design, a bit like the original Snapchat that hung around so long with its bubbly, bare-bones design. With the redesign, Genius adds a little maturity to the brand at an appropriate time.
Genius first launched as Rap Genius after being founded in 2009, with a focus on explaining the oft-unclear lyrics to rap songs, adding context from the artist’s life and past music, as well as defining new slang. Not unlike Wikipedia, users were able to annotate any piece of text from any song, and the community could then up-vote or down-vote those comments to determine which explanation shows up first.
Eventually, the company moved beyond lyrics to rap songs and expanded to other genres, and finally open the floodgates to let users annotate any text on the web. They dropped the Rap and went with just Genius.
The company has since gone on to allow for embeddable annotations, surfacing Genius annotations on any website, as well as the ability to let users annotate any webpage by adding the genius.it/prefix.
It’s unclear what kind of engagement the Genius iOS app sees, but Genius did share that it is currently seeing 38 million uniques, up 11 percent from last month. The launch of an Android app, which will initially only let users up-vote and down-vote annotations, could open up a new pool of mobile users for the company in an increasingly mobile world.
Eventually, the company says, it will allow for annotation creation and management on the Android app, which are features that iOS already enjoys.
Genius has raised a total of $55 million, according to CrunchBase.