I read an enjoyable article in the New York Times on Saturday: Latest Genealogy Tools Create a Need to Know. This article talks about the latest genealogy powertool: DNA testing and also covered a number of genealogy websites.
I'm not using any of these, but got more interested in another site they mentioned, geni.com, that looks to be the most innovative of the bunch. It's a combo family-tree-making and social networking site devoted to sharing genealogy data amongst members of the same tree (heads up: the family trees cannot be made available to the general public except by taking screenshots and posting them).
Geni doesn't allow importing GED files as yet. It can export them but that doesn't help you get a tree going in their software. So, I typed in about 80 entries and had a good time putting in only names first so I could get a visual family tree up in a hurry. Each person in the tree has, by default, visible arrows pointing up, down and sideways with choices for adding parents, children, siblings and spouses. These make it superquick to get up and running.
Each person box has room for a photo. You can click the empty photo box and be prompted to upload a photo for that person. What I liked about it is that I could fool around and get over 20 photos of key family members up populating my tree with great dispatch and no hassle.
I already have a more extensive tree online produced with the aid of my MacFamilyTree software. It has photos. But, Geni has photo albums too and is live. Where MyFamilyTree needs to create a new family tree set of web pages each time, Geni allows data entry using Ajax technology so it is easy and fairly quick data entry.
If all Geni had was the data entry and free photos and whatnot, it would be a decent site to consider. But, what makes it more interesting to me is that it is designed to allow multiple members of your extended family to share information and details about various members of the family tree. You can enter email addresses for yourself and others. And other members of your tree can enter their own details. Messages and photos can be exchanged.
Right now, this is a solo venture. No one else is yet involved. Maybe it will be one more promising social-network web project that doesn't go anywhere. But, genealogy seems like such a great fit with social networking, so it is worth a try.
Please comment here if you've tried your own Geni or other online genealogy site. I would love to hear what you've experienced and learned.