This is one of a series of articles about Google’s search interface and its application to genealogy.
Dan Lawyer, FamilySearch product manager made this comment:
FamilySearch Product Managers have not suggested that Google is good at searching genealogical data. They have correctly (in my opinion) understood that Google has trained the masses to use a single field for search. The logic then follows that if…using a single field search for genealogy could [be made to work well], then those that are new to genealogy may more quickly be productive if they are able to use their current search paradigm.
Dan has worked tirelessly to make genealogy simple for “the masses.” He has my respect and full support.
In my article, “Google’s Spartan Interface,” I talked about the widespread praise Google’s single-field interface has received. It’s no wonder that product managers at both FamilySearch and Ancestry.com have asked product developers to study the possibility of applying such an approach to genealogy.
But I’d like to raise the issue that Google-conditioned masses probably don’t correlate with existing FamilySearch.org users. By making genealogy easier for the masses, do you disorient existing users? I used Quantcast.com to compare the demographics of Google.com users (below, left) and FamilySearch.org (below, right).
(If you can’t see the demographics in the table above, try viewing this article on my website.)
The numbers on the right side of each report are compared to 100, the Internet average. As you can see, Google and FamilySearch demographics are almost complete opposites. Without exception, anytime one of the two is above the Internet average, the other is below.
I'm guessing about 80% of the patrons I help at my FHC are regular FamilySearch.org searchers, but I doubt very much that more than 25% of them use Google.
What do you think? Can you think of an intuitive way to enter genealogy searches into a single field?
Click “Comments” below to share your thoughts.