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Family 2.0 December 30, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in family, social networks.
Tags: ,
Even your relatives aren’t safe from the social networking and web 2.0 fever that is spreading across the globe like wildfire. It makes sense when you think about it. Why wouldn’t we use social networking technologies to keep in touch with family members, document family history an dmanage hectic schedules to make life easier? We use it for friends, customers, vendors and even perfect strangers, why not with relatives?

After inspecting the following sites it became clear that each one brought something unique to the family table. While some offered far more features, they still lacked some critical features that the others included. It is perplexing that these sites don’t seem to be studying the competition much. It would make sense if they examined what everyone else was doing just to ensure that they themselves weren’t leaving some important feature or option out.

Here are the core components that a family social networking site should include: News, Family tree, address book, calendar with appointment notification (iCal compatible), list manager (to do lists, shopping lists, gift lists, recipes, etc.), blog/wiki for family history and stories, Photo Album, Live Chat and message board. Obviously, there are many more features available, but these should be the minium available for any family network site. Another critical element is the ability to have multiple logins for each family member with different access levels. Most of these sites only provide a single login and access level!
Here are some of the best sites and tools available for free today. See the Family Site Feature Comparison Matrix to compare all of these sites side by side. Note: The matrix is a work in progress that will be updated on a regular basis as sites and services change.

Famundo appears to offer the most features with their free version which is ad-supported as well as their premium $9.99/month version.
They actually offer their premium version for free to organizations such as schools, churches, etc. Here is Famundo’s comparison matrix between Famundo, Cozi and some others.

MyFamily is from the same folks from ancestry.com which gives it a strong advantage over all the others when it comes to geneology. This is important because it can exchange information with the massive ancestry database. Their new site has a lot to offer.

KinCafe has a much more pleasing interface than famundo but nowhere near the amount of features. Still, many will prefer the less is more offering here. It does offer a family tree maker online.

http://famiva.com offers some unique features the others do not such as their map tool that shows where everyone is located. They also have a family network diagram that shows how everyone links together in a different way than their family tree does. They also offer blogs where you can embed video and images.

FamilyCrossings has one of the best looking sites and easiest interfaces. Here is a Virtual Tour. They offer 6 core features with the free account and 15 features for the $10/month premium account.
The free features include: News, Photos, Calendar, Address Book, Live Chat and Gift Center. All in all a great site.

AirSet is a newcomer offering all of the standard features with a nice look and feel.

Cozi only has a meager set of features such as a calendar, shopping list maker and the ability to send text messages to family members.

Geni has a powerful and elegant family tree maker online. It includes photos of family members and contact information. It truly needs ability to connect, search and download from an ancestry database of some kind.

is the famous geneology site. Great place to research family tree information. Some searches and information are free, but most aren’t.


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