RootsTech 2014

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Monday, February 6, 2012

News from RootsTech 2012?

While a fantastic experience, RootsTech 2012 is still not quite the same as going to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Other than Salt Lake is fortunately not like Las Vegas, the manufacturers use the CES to introduce new products and services. As far as I could tell, there were only a very few really new products and services introduced at RootsTech 2012 with a few notable exceptions. As time goes on and if RootsTech continues to grow, it may well become THE venue for hardware and software introductions.

The most notable introduction was the complete revision of New.FamilySearch.org. With the promising announcement that the release of Family Tree would be within the year. I will not go into details because I have just written two different blog posts on the subject. Additionally, since RootsTech is really big and complicated it is entirely possible that I missed some major announcement by simply not be present to win, as they say.

brightsolid (yes, it is spelled without a capital letter) announced their entry into the US genealogy market with the launch of a ground-breaking, “pay-as-you-go” site censusrecords.com. This is the first entry into the U.S. for this major United Kingdom genealogy company. brightsolid online publishing, a leading online provider of historical and genealogical content, also announced that top genealogist D. Joshua Taylor had joined its new US operation with immediate effect, as business development manager and media spokesperson. You can read more on their website.

MyHeritage, the huge online family tree provider based in Israel, also announced search developments. Quoting from the MyHeritage blog,
The opening day, our CEO/founder Gilad Japhet demonstrated the new MyHeritage Super Search technology. The new tool greatly expands search functionality and takes into account user errors, common name variations, and other important details which, in the past, have not been included in most ancestral searches. There are many options to filter results by collections, via additional refining, advanced search and filtering capabilities as demonstrated in his presentation. This tool is still under development.
 MyHeritage’s chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz also highlighted the FamilyGraph API and its potential uses by developers and consumers.

 A newer company, ReadyMicro Digitiaztion Solutions also introduced some of its prototype designs for two camera book scanner and its older product, one camera microfilm scanners.

Mocavo.com, the world’s largest free genealogy search engine, announced several new product capabilities and content additions that will be demonstrated at this week’s RootsTech Family History and Technology conference in Salt Lake City. New product capabilities include: free storage and sharing for historical records, iPhone and Android applications, and the new Discovery Stream. From Mocavo.com's blog there were even more announcements of new collections,
The new collections include the Allen County Public Library’s Internet Archive records (one of the largest online genealogy collections in the world), the US Social Security Administration’s Social Security Death Index, and the World Family Tree, developed by the popular Geni family tree service. With these three additions, Mocavo’s search engine will be better than ever.
Ancestry.com got into the act by not announcing but clearly referring to a new DNA related product. It was not clear if the new development would be part of the Ancestry.com website or a separate website. 

There may be a trend in the genealogical software industry to announce upgrades and new products as they become available, but this might be because there has never been a venue like RootsTech previously. It remains to be seen whether RootsTech will take on the role of the venue for product announcements in a big way.

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