Following in the footsteps of Google Labs and FamilySearch Labs, subscription website Ancestry.com has launched a new section of its site called Ancestry Labs. There, the company’s techies can let you test new products and gather your feedback (via a green Feedback tab on the right side of the screen).
Not all the new ideas are destined to be part of Ancestry.com. “The projects we place in this area are likely to be early prototypes, and although some of them may make their way into the main Ancestry.com site, some may not,” according to the company’s announcement.
Person View, the first Ancestry Labs project, includes two components:
- Web Records, which searches for your ancestor on the internet, shows you basic information from matching web pages, and links you to those pages.You may remember a dustup over the similar Internet Biographical Collection, which was pulled down shortly after its introduction in August 2007 amid copyright and other concerns. That collection cached web pages’ content and displayed the results on Ancestry.com, so the compiler missed out on credit and the traffic.
Ancestry.com hopes to avoid those mistakes with Web Records by linking to the source site and making it easy for webmasters to opt out of being in search results.
- Person Consolidation is a way of viewing search results that groups matches by person, rather than by record type. Your results show each person’s name with links to categories of records—Ancestry Records, Family Trees (with no living people included) and Web Records—for that person.You’ll see just the first 10 matches to your search. It simplifies your results, but the algorithm can make mistakes by grouping together records for two different people, or displaying one person as different people.
From the March 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine.