Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mocavo vs. Google: The 2012 Showdown

In the past year, genealogists have been given a new option for locating free online resources. So, has it helped? While there have been a lot of positive reviews of Mocavo, launched in March 2011; I thought it would be interesting to put it to a test against the search market leader, Google.

Please note, this is a fictional portrayal of a bout between two search engines. The searches will be real, but the rest is simply intended to make this challenge more entertaining.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 2012 genealogy search engine showdown. This three-round title fight will challenge each search engine to locate a specific ancestor (that I have already located online). The winner of each round will be decided by the number of clicks and/or search attempts until the pre-determined record appears on the first page of search results. Failure to locate a record may result in the referee declaring a technical knock-out. In the event of a tie at the end of the three rounds, there will be a sudden-death-record search off.

In the red corner, weighing in at 150 pounds, Francisco Mocavo, who trains in Boulder, Colorado with coach Cliff Shaw. Cliff has been quoted as saying, "The market has been begging for it for over a decade. It's tough to say why others haven't tried, but there are definitely some serious technical hurdles to building a large-scale search engine, especially one as fast as Mocavo."(1)

And in the blue corner, weighing in at 175 pounds, Elmer Google, who has traveled all the way from Mountain View, California, with coaches Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Assisting in the blue corner is genealogical advisor, Dan Lynch -- author of Google Your Family Tree -- who tosses his own thoughts into the ring: "Sure, the fact that these services are free doesn't hurt . . . genealogists like free . . . but it's the relevancy of results and spectacular finds that keep us coming back day after day."(2)

Here are the challenges: Round #1: Burial record of Silvio Archilei, b. 1915, d. 1995. Round #2: Citizenship record for Henry A. Foye, 1894. Round #3: Marriage record for Carroll Smithson, 1942. The referee will start each round by searching for the name alone, and then adding one more fact with each search attempt. At the end of each round, there will be a brief intermission where heavyweight Ricky "Tricky" Ancestry with coach Tim Sullivan will attempt to locate the same ancestor.

What's your favorite search engine for genealogy research? Will you be cheering for Team Movaco? Or Team Google? Stay tuned as Round #1 of the free genealogy search engine challenge match takes place later today.

This event is neither endorsed nor sanctioned by any of the people mentioned above.

(1) "LAUNCH Instant 001: Mocavo," March 18, 2011.
(2) "Google Filtering Techniques For Family History Research," January 28, 2011.

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