Laura explains the changes much better than I can, so please review her post.
The blog title could be construed to mean that the search feature on the Home Page (i.e., the "Home" tab) has been changed. It has not. What has changed is the "Search " tab page in "New Search." Here is what it looks like now:
And further down the web page:
There are several new features on the Search tab page, including:
* A link to "Old Search" for diehard Old Search users. This makes it very easy to go to "Old Search" if the user wishes. Before, the "Old Search" link was only on pages of matches resulting from a search.
* The "Recently viewed collections" at the top of the right-hand sidebar. This will be very useful, I think - when I come back to Ancestry.com, I often can't recall what I did last. This helps.
* Maps are on the "Search" tab page - for USA, UK & Ireland, Europe, Canada and Australia (use the appropriate tab). If users wish to search for a specific locality (country or state/province), they can click on the entity in the map or click the link below the map. This will be very helpful, I think. This will provide a fairly easy way to find a specific database for a specific locality, and enable the user to browse that specific database (especially if it is not indexed...). I think that this feature will uncover a number of heretofore well-hidden databases in each state.
Users should click on the links to "View other..." or "View all..." on the State Place Page - there may be databases available that don't include the state name, but contain records pertaining to the state or one or more counties.
I clicked on California in the USA Map, and saw this "Place Page" summary of the databases available on Ancestry.com specifically for California:
Note that the more general databases, like the US Federal Census Records, don't show on the list on the state "Place Page," but are included in the "View other..." or "View all..." links that provide collections that pertain to, but are not specifically for, the selected state.
For specific counties within a state, there is a selection box on the right of the "Place Page" where the user can see how many specific databases there are for each county, and can select a County from the list. I selected "San Francisco 36" on the County list, which means that San Francisco County has 36 specific databases on Ancestry.com. The "County Page" looks like this:
From this page, I can select any item on the specific County database list to either browse or search. I chose the "Daily Alta California (San Francisco)" newspaper with 61 records. Here is what the database page looks like:
All of these updates to the Ancestry "New Search" "Search tab" page are useful to me as a researcher.
I've given three presentations about "Using Ancestry.com Effectively" in the past two months, and have had to make significant changes to the presentation each time because of recent changes to the web site content and format. In my talk, one of my conclusions is that "Ancestry.com's 'New Search' capability is the most sophisticated and complex search algorithm in genealogy research." However, I also note that "New Search" has a steep learning curve - you have to practice quite a bit to learn how to use it effectively. Do you agree with me about this?
The question now is: What will Ancestry.com update, or improve, next in their Search capabilities?
My question for my readers is: What improvements to "New Search" would you like to see?"