23andMe is addressing many of our concerns with the functionality of Relative Finder and proposing some very welcome improvements. These changes to Relative Finder will enable the active participants to streamline their experience, while minimizing the frustration of seeing pages and pages of unanswered invitations when a user logs into their account. These proposed improvements include:
1. Adding fields for genealogically relevant information such as historical family locations, family haplogroups and notes (no GEDCOMS yet).
2, Actively encouraging users to fill out their profile information on their first visit to Relative Finder.
3. Due to the fact that only about 4% of users have made their profile public, they will keep the option to participate anonymously for now, but will prominently place the option to forego the anonymous invitation in the settings dialogue.
4. Those users who fill out their profile will be prominently displayed on the first pages of the List View results. All close relatives (up to 3rd cousins) will still appear upfront. The rest (those without profiles filled out) will be pushed to the later pages.
5. Profile SmartSearch will search through these matches and automatically highlight any matching profile information.
6. Adding the ability to search and filter matches.
7. Increasing the speed of searches.
23andMe is hoping to improve the Relative Finder experience for those of us who are very active, without scaring off those who may still be on the fence about sharing their genomes. With this in mind, they are looking at ways to better educate their customers in regard to Relative Finder and the privacy concerns associated with it.
This is only meant to be a quick summary since I wanted to share this good news as soon as possible. I will have more specific thoughts on these proposed changes in a later post. I would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions as well. So, please feel free to comment.