Those estimates are based on the Sunday morning breakfast hosted by Ancestry.com at the SCGS Jamboree where Michelle Pfister and Mark Lemonnier reviewed some of the highlights of FTM 2010 for nine wide-awake and eager bloggers. I took notes. They said that we could "tell" after July 8th... I fully expected some sort of announcement this past week, but maybe it is coming soon.
Another indication is that FTM 2010 is being offered for advance sale on Amazon.com (price $29.99 for FTM 2010 Essentials, released 2 September 2009) and on Navarre Distribution Services here ($69.99 for FTM 2009 Deluxe with 3 months of ancestry, release date 18 August 2009). The section titled What's new in Family Tree Maker 2010? lists:
* New tools and charts that help you tell a richer story
* Better ways to organize photos and other media
* Create slideshows from the images in your tree
* Family books made from your tree
* Standard source templates that help you reference the right information
* A view of your relation to everyone in your tree
* Extended family birthday calendars
* Images scanned directly into your tree
* Family migration paths over time
* Easy family tree download from Ancestry.com
At the breakfast, I think that Mark hit all of those bullet points. He expanded on some of them, including:
* FTM 2010 will "synch" to Ancestry Member Trees - the user will be able to upload an FTM 2010 database, including attached images and other media, to an Ancestry Member Tree. The Ancestry Member Tree, with attached media, will be able to be downloaded to Family TreeMaker 2010. However, I think that an Ancestry member will be able to download only their own trees and media, not somebody else's trees and media (we'll need to sort this out!). [delete this sentence: However, the standard GEDCOM download from Ancestry Member Tree will not include media - only the GEDCOM format - even if you are using FTM 2010.]
* FTM 2010 will load faster, and will have a reduced database size relative to FTM 2009.
* FTM 2010 will be a separate buy - users with FTM 2009 will have to pay to upgrade to FTM 2010.
* The Plan screen in FTM 2010 will have a web dashboard and a list of family trees with statistics. The dashboard will include the user's Ancestry account and Twitter feed.
* On the Publish screen, there will be more reports and charts. Media will be added to Family Group Sheets and sources to Charts. They will offer an extended family chart (the view of your relation to everyone in the tree).
* There were many more items in the People, Places and Sources screens - all of them sound good to me. Let's see what they look like when this is released to the genealogy community.
The important thing to me is that Ancestry.com is continually improving the Family Tree Maker software. In some cases, they are "catching up" to the competition. In other cases, they are breaking new ground.
I believe that, at some point, there will be a Family Tree Maker program online so that users can do their adding, editing, noting, sourcing, etc. in the online program without a massive desktop program sitting on their desktop hard drive - in other words, "Genealogy in the Cloud." That makes a lot of sense to me, especially with Netbooks becoming so popular. I expect that such a program, and the database storage, would be offered for a price.
NOTE: If I have misstated anything above, I hope that an Ancestry.com person will let me know. While taking notes, I was still thinking about how good the breakfast was... I thank Ancestry.com for the free breakfast and the FTM briefing - it is helpful to get to know the Ancestry people and for them to get to know some of their customers.
Updated 9 p.m. to add Amazon link and price details.
UPDATED 13 July: I corrected my discussion of "synching" above in red. I received an email today from Michelle Pfister informing me that FTM 2008 and 2009 can already upload a Family Tree Maker file, including attached media (images, audio, video, etc.) to an Ancestry Member Tree from within the Family Tree Maker program. I must have misunderstood Mark when he discussed the "synching" of FTM 2010 to Ancestry. Michelle told me that the capability for an Ancestry member to download their tree, with attached media, from Ancestry Member Trees to FTM 2010 will be part of the FTM 2010 upgrade.