Given that people over 35-years-old represent Facebook’s fastest growing demographic (women over 55 being the fastest growing group overall), it’s not surprising that more entrepreneurs are showing interest in genealogy applications on Facebook.
Most recently, popular family social network Geni.com launched a Facebook application that allows users to retrieve data from its popular genealogical website. Without leaving Facebook, the application allows Geni users to access their family tree, find (and add) relatives to it, and maintain a family calendar and profile.
Since releasing the app in early April, it has enjoyed steady growth. To date, it claims around 62,000 monthly active users. Geni faces some stiff competition within Facebook’s application ecosystem, however. The We’re Related Facebook app, developed by FamilyLink.com, claims just shy of 16 million monthly active users, making it the fifth most popular application on the platform. The Family Tree Facebook app, developed by Familybuilder.com, has more than 3 million.
In addition to building applications, both Geni and FamilyBuilder have also utilized Facebook Connect, creating a nice continuity for their sites’ users who want to employ their Facebook identity to manage their experience across both sites. With their Connect implementations, users can publish their actions — such as editing a family tree or uploading a picture — into their Facebook News Feeds.
The Geni app is pretty straightforward after you add it to your list of applications. It has a tabular interface with the following categories: Home, My Tree, My Relatives, Friend Trees, Calendar and Profile. The home tab almost serves as a News Feed for your family, noting when you added family members or an event to your family calendar. It also has a “Family Stats” box that lists your family members, blood relatives and ancestors. The app is innately social. You can choose to share lots of information, such the Family Tree you’ve built, with your Facebook friends.
We’re not surprised to see genealogy websites have such successful presences on the Facebook Platform. Their purpose of mapping people’s most fundamental connections closely matches that of Facebook’s own mission statement.
The potential to build out detailed family trees on Facebook will be promising as Facebook attracts older users who can interact with the data. While the early users of Facebook trend younger, many Facebook users have seen their Baby Boomer parents join Facebook during the past couple years. As they create accounts, they could fill out more detailed family trees, providing a digital record of their heritage for future generations.