Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ancestry Product Updates

One section of the latest Ancestry.com publicity email addresses Product Updates from Eric Shoup, VP Product, including:

* Family Tree Maker 2010

Since Family Tree Maker 2010 was released in mid August, initial reviews are very positive overall. Especially popular is the new ability to download a tree (including photos and stories) from Ancestry.com into Family Tree Maker.

We are planning to release a small update to the 2010 version that will address some of the issues that have been reported in early use of the product. Of particular note are the following:

*** Improved linking to source records in trees downloaded from Ancestry.com
*** Ability to manually download Ancestry.com linked records
*** Fix for media item display when added to a book
*** Improved wording of custom facts in the genealogy reports
*** Improved importing from GEDCOM, PAF and Legacy
*** Other minor stability improvements

* New Tree Viewer

We have had our new tree viewer out in preview mode for a few weeks now. We’ve received more than 8,000 feedback emails so far about it. The preview will continue for several more weeks as we continue to iterate and listen to customer feedback. Stay tuned as we work to update the New Tree Viewer preview to address points of member feedback.

* New Enhanced Image Page

The new Enhanced Image Page (aka the new Content Viewer) has been in use for 2 months now. In my last update, I pondered aloud how the new editing would impact our rate of augmentations submitted by Ancestry.com members to our indices. After 2 months of usage, members have submitted 685,000 edits. This equates to 85,000 edits per week over the last 8 weeks, which is up from 30,000 edits per week prior to the new Enhanced Image Page.

* Just Launched -- Share Records through Facebook, Twitter & Email

This week, we just added the ability to share a historical record via Facebook, Twitter and email. Once shared, your friends and family can click-through to Ancestry.com to view the record without needing to register. This is an easy way to share your daily discoveries with people who matter to you.

We have implemented this capability in a limited way on the site to gauge interest. You are only able to share historical records and only from the Record page itself. If the response is positive, we will extend this same capability to more places on the site and to more types of media (such as photos and stories).
You can try this by going to a Record page and clicking on Share this record.
From there, you can customize the text of the post or email.

My comments:

There was also an update on the Member Connect feature.

I'm sure that all of these announcements and updates, especially the screen shots and perhaps more detail of the Sharing in Twitter, Facebook and email, will be put on the Ancestry.com blog.

I wonder how they will distribute the updates to FTM 2010? Probably by CDROM if past history is an indicator - they haven't done any online downloads if I recall correctly.

The New Tree Viewer is useful, but seems like a small change to me and is somewhat confusing to a new user.

The New Enhanced Image Page is great and is a big change from the previous image page. I especially like seeing the index and the source citation information (such as it is). The Magnify feature is really useful, too. The user can expand the image area by clicking on the down arrow to deflate the index box and the right arrow to deflate the Member Connect/source box.

An addition or improvement that I would like to see is to be able to browse through the index page-by-page. It is much easier to read an index list of typed names than to read the handwriting on the image page.

Full disclosure (required by new FTC rules): I am not an Ancestry.com employee, contractor or affiliate. I receive publicity emails from Ancestry.com. I have my own paid US Subscription to Ancestry.com. I have purchased Family Tree Maker 2008, 2009 and 2010, and have received complimentary copies of FTM 2009 and 2010, which I donated to my local genealogy society.

UPDATED 6 October: So my memory was faulty... Family Tree Maker updated other versions using a downloadable software patch. Sorry! You can download updates for earlier versions by using the "Help" menu in your FTM program and using the "Update" button. You have to be connected to the Internet. See more info on the FTM Support web page.


Aylarja said...

"I wonder how they will distribute the updates to FTM 2010? Probably by CDROM if past history is an indicator - they haven't done any online downloads if I recall correctly."

My experience is exactly the opposite, based on the updates released for FTM 2009. These were all downloaded via the web. For those running Windows Vista, you have to launch FTM using Adminstrator privileges in order to retrieve and install updates. My recollection is that FTM automatically checks for updates via the web, although this may be controlled by preference settings. I assume updates to FTM 2010 will be no different.

Cousin Russ said...


Since about Version 2006, Patches / Updates to a CD based version, has been done with a Downloadable Patch. Version 2006 to Version 16 was the most recent example for the old technology.

Several Service Packs (SP) for 2008, 2009, were also using the Help, Update method. I suspect that Version 2010 will be done the same way.

Looking forward to those enhancements. Thanks for the update.


Tamura Jones said...


So far, Ancestry released major updates on CD and patches via the web.
They do have a nasty habit of janking (the links to) old patches.

- Tamura