It’s close to midnight
Some sap is dripping from my family tree
Under computer screen light
You see search results that make you want to flee
You try to shriek
But a zillion family hits just blur your vision
You scroll through pages you don’t need
As the NEW search engine stares you in the eyes
‘Cause this is filler
Filler all right
And only G2G can save you
From the hits about to spike
You know its filler
Filler all right
You’re wishing hard for your old search engine
Inside a filler
Filler tonight. Yeah!
A truly responsive search engine is going the way of the flash mob and the buggy whip. It gives me pause to wonder: why is a good thing going to disappear in about six months? This blog post is in response to Ancestry.com’s announcement that their “OLD” search engine will disappear entirely in about six months. Today, along with many other long time genealogy researchers, I complained on their Facebook page, and called the Ancestry.com customer service department.
For months after the NEW search engine was put in place (around 2008) I complained through the usual channels–usually a response box inside Ancestry.com, and some times through polls that were offered to me. Every single time I made sure to complain about the NEW search engine, letting Ancestry.com know I was still using the OLD one, which thankfully the programmers left there hidden behind a few vague links.
Most of my regular blog readers know I’ve been ‘at it,’ researching genealogy for over thirty-five years. Always fascinated with computers and technology, I was a member of the early internet genealogy groups, and then one of the first subscribers to Ancestry.com. Today I test and use the latest technologies and social media, so I am not caught in any dead space where outdated genealogists go to retire. I use (and pay for) several of Ancestry.com’s other products and services including Fold3 (formerly Footnote), Archives.com, Newspapers.com and Rootsweb.com.
Many times I have presented programs about researching genealogy for historical societies and libraries. When I do, I have often mentioned one or more of these products, and promote them. I don’t get a kick-back of any kind for activity. I am not an affiliate vendor for any of their products or services.
With these preliminaries presented, now I move on to the ‘meat’ of this post. Today it became known that Ancestry.com is going to do away with its “Old Search” by the end of 2013. The people who seem to be upset and protesting the most are those who are long-time users, who are also expert researchers, professionals and amateurs included. I’m a sure there are ‘some’ people who are satisfied with the NEW search engine. But unequivocally, watching the response on Facebook today, the long time researchers were horrified that the OLD search engine was being removed.
When Ancestry.com’s NEW search came out in 2008, I really did my best to use it. I checked off various “tick boxes” to see what would happen. No matter how long I spent with the NEW search, I always ditched it and returned to the old. Why? Because it was simply more responsive to the advanced genealogist. The results were MORE specific to my search. The NEW search engine seemed to me to be something made to boost the ratings of return, where in fact the returns were vague, not related to my search, and often redundant.
So how did this happen? I am not an insider, I don’t know the specifics. All I know is that someone created what I consider to be a sub-standard search engine (the ‘NEW’ one) and apparently the Ancestry.com hierarchy bought into it, even though its honestly a poor product. I don’t like it, I won’t use it. I feel that strongly about it. I heard that Ancestry.com was acquired by a private equity group in October of 2012, long after the ‘New’ search engine was put in place. Will they be savvy enough to take another look at an essential part of their service that just doesn’t work well, or not? Time will tell.
In the meantime, I have six months to go shopping for a better home for my genealogy. My family tree is immense, well documented, and with photographs. Its really sad that the “largest for-profit genealogy company” may not be listening to its customers. AOL and a few other “largest in the world” did that too, and we know what happened to them.
(you get the idea by now I hope, apologies to Michael Jackson!)
G2G = Genealogist to Genealogist, networking of like-minded research friends.
Confession of a Genealogical Fuddyduddy Revisited – from West in New England
Ancestry.com Changes Search Functionality and Removes Old Search – from Geneabloggers
Flash Blog Mob – from Nutfield Genealogy
Time to Suck It Up and Say ‘Goodbye’ To Old Search – from Begin with ‘Craft’
Ancestry.com to Retire “Old Search” Capability – from Genea-Musings
The 2 % Rant, NOT Feeling Special, And After All It Is ALL About ME! – from Reflections from the Fence
Genealogy and Tech: Google and Ancestry – from TranslyvanianDutch: Genealogy and Technology
Ancestry.com’s 2% Speak Up – from GenealogyInsider
Ancestry’s Old Search to Go in Six Months – from British GENES
I’m a 2 Percenter – from Gene Notes
==Older Posts, but related==
Ancestry.com Rethinking New Search? – from The Ancestry Insider (January 2013). Notice the responses to this post and how many use and prefer the “Old Search”