Monday, January 7, 2013

FamilySearch Mobile Indexing App Withdrawn

FamilySearch Indexing App
Image Credit: © Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
“In February 2012, FamilySearch quietly launched a beta test of a FamilySearch indexing mobile app for the IOS and Android platforms,” Michael Judson, FamilySearch Indexing spokesperson, said last month. “At this point, we feel we have enough beta testers and have decided to restrict the app from further downloading.” The withdrawal of the app from the app store occurred mid-December.

I briefly mentioned the existence of the app back on 3 February 2012 and reviewed it in June 2012. (See “FamilySearch Indexing on iPad,” “The Betaness of FamilySearch iPad Indexing,” and “FamilySearch Indexing App Q and A.”)

Judson went on to say something that made me wonder if the beta program is winding down. He said that current mobile indexers could continue to do, but only a limited number of new snippets would be produced.

I’ve wondered if and when collections indexed might be published. Judson said, “all information indexed on the mobile app will eventually become part of the searchable collection on FamilySearch.org.”

When you say “beta test” to me, as an old software developer, I think of a final test before a product is released. This was not the case for the Mobile Indexing app. The purpose of this beta test was to

  • gauge overall interest in mobile indexing,
  • get feedback on the product design,
  • and determine the relative effectiveness of the mobile approach vs. the traditional desktop indexing approach.

Interest was deemed to be high. The app was downloaded more than 150,000 times and more than 21,000 individuals used it each month.

FamilySearch received feedback and Judson promised it would be used to help improve the product.

Relatively, the production of mobile indexers was discovered to be far less than desktop indexers. Further, the cost of preparing indexing batches of name snippets is expensive.

So what is the future of mobile indexing from FamilySearch? “We know the beta test has raised the anticipation level for some,” he said, “so we ask for patience as we continue to work toward delivering a truly effective mobile solution. FamilySearch is committed to getting this right.”

Other FamilySearch Indexing Numbers

As of 14 December 2012, the regular FamilySearch Indexing program had produced:

  • 950,826,364 total records completed
  • 255,339,985 records completed in 2012 (at this rate the grand total will surpass one billion in 2013!)
  • 337,355 contributors in 2012
  • 197 current projects

2 comments:

  1. I indexed a few more records through the app last night then, boom, blank pages. When I couldn't resign in, I found our article and understand what's going on. It's a shame, they've discontinued it. It's easy to use and can be done virtually everywhere. Hope it comes back soon.

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  2. I was hoping to download the app to my Android phone, which goes with me everywhere. I don't tote my laptop, or even iPad, anywhere. Thus, excellent opportunities to index during spontaneous "downtimes" throughout my day are now being lost. I'm very disappointed, but am confident eventually we'll see this app return on steroids.

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