David Meyer of GigaOM reports, “When it comes to social networks, few are more important – and harder to pin down – than the family tree. So it’s no surprise that the fierce competition between the two leading platforms, Ancestry.com and MyHeritage, is getting ever more technologically advanced. Derrick covered some of the techniques being used by Ancestry.com back in June, and today we can reveal the latest weapon in MyHeritage’s arsenal: automated record matching. Both platforms lean heavily on records as a way of augmenting the drier names and dates that make up family trees, but the Israel-based MyHeritage – which already has its own angle by explicitly treating the service like a social network – reckons it now has the edge.”

Meyer goes on, “According to CEO Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage has had its Record Matching tech ready for some time, but needed to set up a server farm, then clear a backlog of four billion historical records (including the world’s largest historical newspaper collection, acquired through the company’s FamilyLink buy last year), before launching it today… As an example, let’s say you don’t know the date of birth or death for your grandfather, but you do know his name. MyHeritage has a big database of wills, but again, you’re lacking dates. So the service would use its already-existing Smart Matching technology to compare the known information with that on other family trees, perhaps pinning down dates through other relatives’ connections. Then, armed with that, it would find what it can in those historical records, using semantic analysis to deal with the free-text newspaper cuttings for example.”

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Image Courtesy: MyHeritage