The free app allows Ancestry.com members to access family trees they have created or that have been created by their friends, and get access to the documents they have attached to these trees while they not at a computer, but have an Apple iOS device handy. (Ancestry.com says they are investigating creating an Android operating system version of the App.)
This announcement involves Ancestry improving it’s iPhone App, and also releasing an iPad-specific app designed specifically for use with the larger format of the iPad.
The blog entry says:
“Today, we announced the availability of an enhanced version of our iPhone app, Ancestry, that now has universal support for the iPad and offers several new features:
- An interactive family tree viewer to visualize relationships in your family history
- Access to family trees that were shared with you
- Ability to view attached historical documents and source citations attached via Ancestry.com
- An improved user experience
- Available on the iPad”
On the iPad, Ancestry.com makes the point that this will be a powerful sharing tool for genealogists to show one another and their families what they have found.
While I do not have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, and haven’t felt a real desire to get one until now, being happy with my HTC Evo Android phone, my Mac laptops, and my Kindle, this looks quite interesting.
With Ancestry.com’s acquisitions last year of Footnote, one wonders if the interactivity available on that site will seed creativity around these mobile apps, allowing users to annotate images for themselves and others from the App, and upload this information to the web.
The app becomes really compelling if I can make “notes” about the genealogical images, say that have been incorrectly indexed, and then, the next time I am online, upload those notes for others. Or, if I can take quick snapshots (iPad 2 is rumored to have a camera), then upload these quickly to Flickr, Ancestry, and other accounts with default privacy settings. As a one-way app, Ancestry looks cool; as a portable collaborating and crowd sourcing tool, it would be an almost essential addition to any genealogist’s technological toolkit.