The following announcement was written by The Generations Network, parent company of MyFamily.com, Ancestry.com and several other web sites:
BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 23 -- Myfamily.com, the leading social networking service for families, today announced a new release of myfamily.com 2.0 beta available at http://www.myfamily.com/. The new release lets families connect online to share news, recipes, family history, photos and video in a safe, private and media-rich environment. Myfamily.com 2.0 beta offers several new features and services, including the ability to leave voice messages directly on the site or narrate photo slideshows using a phone.
Since its launch in 1998, myfamily.com has enjoyed a loyal subscriber base of nearly two million passionate and dedicated members. Originally a free service, myfamily.com moved to a subscription-only service in 2001, and now with the new 2.0 beta is introducing a free option once again.
Within the myriad of social networking sites, myfamily.com 2.0 is uniquely focused on providing a private, password-protected place for families to connect on the web. Families worldwide are using myfamily.com to build private spaces where invited members and guests can participate in sharing photos, news, videos, slideshows, recipes, files, family-trees and events. Many are also creating sites reflecting the social groups their family interacts with, including sports teams, schools, hobbies, or other groups.
"We are excited to provide a free, protected home on the Web where families can connect and keep up with what's going on in each others' lives," said Michael Graff, Senior Vice President and General Manager of myfamily.com. "Families use their sites to share what's going on today and also to reflect on past experiences together in a more meaningful way than email and more secure than public sharing sites. We are excited about working with our existing and new members as we continue to develop and refine myfamily.com 2.0."
The new 2.0 site is currently available at http://www.myfamily.com/ and is in open beta for anyone to try out. One innovative feature called 'SnapGenie' allows members to select and sort photos into a slideshow and then add voice narration by calling a toll-free number and clicking through the photos on their computer screen. This makes it fun for grandparents, parents and kids to tell the real story behind the pictures. These multimedia stories are viewable by family members on the site and can also be shared via email invitation to others, or embedded in web pages or on a blog.
For times when you want to contact the family and just can't get to a computer, the new myfamily.com site provides a phone number and PIN that you can call from anywhere to leave an instant voice message on your site. Now a cousin traveling the back-roads of Borneo can reach the entire family with just one phone call, updating everyone on his latest adventures.
Any member of a myfamily.com 2.0 site can easily create additional password protected sites and invite the people they want to share in the new experience. So you can have a 'cousins-only' site, or a 'Family Reunion Planning' site, or a 'Mrs. Johnson's 5th Grade Class' site to communicate, share photos, art, and upcoming events with other families at your child's school. Individuals can be a part of as many family or group sites as they want and easily switch between them.
Myfamily.com 2.0 can also deliver reminders to your extended family for all the important events in life including birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, or other special events. And, if you need a unique gift for someone, the integrated shopping features let you order prints, t-shirts, mugs and other photo creations using the photos shared on the site.
"Myfamily.com is a fabulous embodiment of our company's mission to connect families across distance and time," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of myfamily.com. "We are energized by the opportunities ahead as the myfamily.com 2.0 beta site is now widely available to existing and new members. We also see terrific synergies possible between each of our websites including Ancestry.com and myfamily.com, to connect families across both distance and time in a way no other service can."
Myfamily.com 2.0 free sites will be supported by advertising and commerce. Members who prefer an ad-free environment will be able to purchase a reasonably priced annual subscription, much like the original service. Details of the subscription service have not yet been announced.
As myfamily.com transitions to the new 2.0 version, members of the original 1.0 version will still be able to use their existing family sites during the beta period. Many of these loyal members are also contributing to the development of the beta site by participating in member surveys, advisory groups, and the 2.0 blog at http://blog.myfamily.com/.
About myfamily.com 2.0
Since 1998, myfamily.com has been the best place on the web to connect and share with the most important people in your life, in a private, secure environment designed specifically for the family. Myfamily.com 2.0 beta is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties connecting families across distance and time, including Ancestry.com, Rootsweb.com, Genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 10.4 million unique visitors worldwide and over 450 million page views a month ((C) comScore Media Metrix, March 2007).