Kinfo is a familial social network designed to allow users to discover and document their ancestral roots, explore their living family network, and share media together.

I got the idea for Kinfo after realizing that the number of relatives I had heard about far outnumbered the relatives I had ever met.  Growing up, my parents would casually reference cousins, aunts, and uncles who were notable for one reason or another.  I could never remember their names or which side of the family they came from, but I knew that someone was a former FBI agent and someone else lived in Paris and someone was a Professor of Mathematics.  My own social world didn’t have anyone like that in it, and I wanted to know who these people were, and that I could call on them if I ever needed their expertise.  I also wanted to know the history of my ancestors, but the stories and photographs were spread across many great aunts and great uncles I didn’t know.  Lastly, I felt that the older I grew, the more distant my extended family seemed to me. We would get together a few times a year for holidays, and spend most of our catching-up time just reacquainting ourselves.  I knew this situation was far different from the large and close-knit families that other people had.

The heart of the application is the family “hedge”, an innovative (and patent-pending!) way to explore your family, your family’s family, and so on. Here’s an example of television’s Soprano family in Kinfo:

TV's The Sopranos as shown in Kinfo's "Family Hedge" interface

Here’s a video of the hedge in action:

Kinfo’s main function is the sharing of family photos, which are all pooled together to create a massive collaged timeline of the entire family’s photo collection.  You can browse through the collage by person, event, or year.

My family's pooled photos in Kinfo's "Collage" photo viewer

Here’s a video of the Photo Collage in action:

If you click on a single photo, you would get name of the event the photo was taken at and a list of the people in the photo. These events and people are hyperlinks you can use to “pivot” to view other photos of the same event or the selected person.

After clicking a photo from the collage, you see the Single Photo View

If you select a person, you will see their profile page, shown here.

A a user's profile, shown here using Carmela Soprano as an example

Lastly, there’s a news page which shows all the recent activity:


About msallin

Matty Sallin is the founder of Since 1999, Matty has worked to develop consumer products that manage everyday information and media in a satisfying, illuminating, and beautiful way. His professional and academic work has focused on social media, information design and information visualization. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Good Morning America, GQ, American Public Media, Make Magazine, Boing Boing, Engadget, Gizmodo, Coolhunting, ResFest, and others. Matty holds a Master’s degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and a Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz.
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4 Responses to Kinfo

  1. drJ says:

    OK, so where is Kinfo now? I try to go to and I’m not getting there. It looks like an awesome program.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is very similar to an idea I’ve had for awhile, and something I think is needed. Instead of reinventing the wheel, would it be more prudent to integrate this with Facebook, which does a horrible job of expressing relationships? Also, the biggest hurdle I see is that some people would declare a friend as “sibling” or “spouse” or something to be funny. Would there be a mechanism in place to prevent this corruption of the hedge, or would be we subject to the whims of our teenage relatives? Good luck!

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