Monday, October 20, 2008

We're Related - when will it be useful?

Whitney Ransom McGowan posted about the We're Related application for Facebook today on the World Vital Records Blog. The post says:

"The We’re Related application allows individuals to find relatives on Facebook, share photos with their friends and families, and also collaboratively build family trees with family members on Facebook. Using We’re Related, individuals have the ability to define which Facebook users are their relatives."

To put it in terms that many genealogists understand, this is Geni for Facebook.

It's a great idea - Facebook has millions of users, all of them with friends and relatives, and it is be a great big network of family members and friends relating to each other - submitting photos, stories, playing games, etc.

I actually joined We're Related some time ago on Facebook, but was unable to upload a GEDCOM file at the time. I didn't add any information one person at a time because I wanted to upload a GEDCOM - it's easier, faster and more accurate.

Here's a screen view of the "My Tree" page on the We're Related application on Facebook:

I clicked on the "Edit" link on my box, and an edit box popped up just begging to be filled out. I resisted this temptation.

Instead, I clicked on the "Upload Gedcom" link on the line below my picture. I thought that I would get a box that permits me to upload a GEDCOM file from my computer files. I was wrong - I got this screen:

The message says "We appreciate all the feedback we've recieved (sic) from the community on our GEDCOM uploads. Our engineers are actively working to bring GEDCOM uploads to the new version of our app. In the next week, and as soon as uploading is working flawlessly, we will reactivate this feature."

This message has appeared for at least the last three weeks, since I've tried to upload a GEDCOM weekly since the beginning of October. My guess is that it has appeared since I first installed the application.

Sure, I could add family members one-by-one by hand in a time consuming process. The WVR post claims that We're Related has been downloaded by 10 million users, and that over 50 million relationships have been defined. If you look at that critically, that's over 5 per person. It's probably more, because some of those 10 million are genealogists like me who want to upload a GEDCOM and have resisted adding relatives one-by-one.

Frankly, when I saw Whitney's post I figured "great, they've finally fixed it and I'll be able to upload a GEDCOM."

When will We're Related add GEDCOM uploading capability? I can hardly wait! My big question is "Why would they publicize something that doesn't work for genealogists?"

1 comment:

Scrogginsdata said...

Starting in late spring . . .

Tried uploading Gedcoms, no luck.

Tried entering people individually. The process was so slow and cumbersome that it would take me a year full-time to enter basic information about all the people in the Gedcom.

Tried uploading pictures of the few people successfully entered manually; We're Related said upload succeeded, but no pictures are there.

Looked for support on Facebook; found hundreds of complaints; no answers or feedback from We're Related. Far more bad reviews than good ones.

Looked for support on World Vital Records and other web sites for the company without success.

Wrote to the company; received an answer from Whitney Ransom (end of July): "We are working on fixing the problems and will hopefully have them resolved in the near future."

Wrote to Paul Allen; received an answer that led me to believe that We're Related is not a high priority for his developers.

Gave up in mid-August.

Went back today to take another look:

"Error while loading page from We're Related

There are still a few kinks Facebook and the makers of We're Related are trying to iron out. We appreciate your patience as we try to fix these issues. Your problem has been logged - if it persists, please come back in a few days. Thanks!"

So, "when will it be useful?" I'm not holding my breath.