28 January 2011

MyHeritage: SmartMatching upgrade

MyHeritage.com today announced an upgrade to its Smart Matching technology, providing family history researchers with new collaborative tools to find new relatives.

One of the important messages in the press release is that the company reinforces the concept that family trees on MyHeritage.com are safe and secure, as mutually confirmed Smart Matches will hyperlink trees - but not merge them. A tree creator (the owner) maintains complete control of his or her tree. Additionally, tree creators may always export or delete that tree. These features are not found elsewhere.

Readers who have not yet tried MyHeritage.com's Family Tree Builder software or set up an online family site may find these features a strong incentive to do so and enjoy the upgrade.

Here's the press release:
London, England & Tel Aviv, Israel – January 24, 2011 - MyHeritage.com, the most popular family network on the web, today released a major update of its flagship Smart Matching™ technology. A suite of new collaboration features significantly enhances one of the most advanced systems for automatic people discovery in the family history market, evolving Smart Matching™ into a community platform.

Smart Matching™ is a unique technology that matches between the people in a user’s family tree and more than 680 million people in 17 million other family trees on MyHeritage.com. The matching technology is sophisticated and bridges across differences in spelling, phonetics and relationships that may exist between the trees. The technology, available for free, has helped hundreds of thousands of people discover ancestors and locate long-lost relatives, reuniting families whose ties have been broken by time and fate. Several dozen of these success stories are described in interviews on the MyHeritage Blog.

The latest improvements include a complete overhaul of the presentation of Smart Matches™, and a range of new premium features for organizing and reviewing matches more efficiently.

The new Consensus Page, one of the first of its kind available to family historians, aggregates data from all Smart Matches™, presenting the big picture for each person. The Consensus lets users skip numerous one-on-one comparisons with individual family trees, and helps them fill in missing information about relatives more quickly and with more confidence. It conveniently displays a summary of the different names, birth and death dates and places, marriage info, etc., for any particular relative, indicating the number of times each piece of information has been used in other family trees. Users can then copy the most commonly used data as they see fit directly into their own family tree, complete with photos of their choice, and can also add a source citation on the copied data linking back to the original family tree.

The enhanced Smart Matching™ allows users to confirm or reject any match, and the platform distinguishes between matches that were confirmed or rejected by each respective tree owner. Users also have the ability to start discussions about matches, encouraging dialogue between researchers and family members about discoveries and the exchange of noteworthy information on mutual relatives.

“Tracing back the family history as far as possible into the past, and finding new living relatives in the present, are key drivers of the rising trend in online family history that we are witnessing”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage.com.

“Our Smart Matching™ technology is instrumental in achieving these goals, by harnessing the vast collective knowledge of the 54 million registered users on MyHeritage.com. Successfully matching between family trees requires cutting-edge technology and a huge family tree data set, and MyHeritage.com has established itself as a world leader in both these areas. We’re committed to creating an environment that nurtures genealogy as a community experience – to be enjoyed and shared by the whole family. The new update adds a layer of collaboration and transforms our powerful technology into a community platform.”

Smart Matching™ works in real time as users enter new information into their trees, as well as offline for deeper and more accurate comparisons. Users are notified by email of new discoveries made by the system. They are then presented with a list of suggested Smart Matches™ for common relatives between two or more family trees – complete with matching criteria and quality scores. Matches can be viewed by individual or by matching tree. The site’s huge global reach and support of 36 languages helps users find and reunite with family members around the world more effectively. Mutually confirmed Smart Matches™ cause family trees to be hyperlinked, not merged, so that tree owners retain complete control of their tree and can always export or delete it – important qualities not available in other family history platforms.

In order to get Smart Matches™ for free, go to MyHeritage.com and start a new family tree, or import an existing tree by uploading a GEDCOM file.
Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage.com will also be speaking about the new features at upcoming conferences and local speaking dates.

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