The following announcement was written by Findmypast.com:
Findmypast.com, the UK family history website, today launches a new image viewer to simplify the process of accessing the historical records on its website.
Previously, findmypast's customers were required to download a "plugin" (a small computer programme) onto their computer to view images of the millions of historical documents on the website. From today, new customers will be able to view the images without downloading a plugin, thanks to the new default "standard viewer". Existing customers who have already downloaded the plugin will continue to be able to view images using what is now called the "enhanced viewer".
"Until today we've required all our customers to download a plugin because that was the only way we could guarantee a sufficiently high quality image at a reasonable download speed" explained Paul Yates, Head of Product and Services at findmypast.com. "Our new standard viewer allows us to make our images easier to view without compromising on quality".
The new viewer has been developed in-house by findmypast's development team and works by converting the millions of images held by findmypast.com in real time to a high quality jpeg format. It then uses Flash technology to allow the user to manipulate the image as they wish. "Frankly we were astonished by the image quality and download speed our team managed to achieve", Yates continued. "We think users will be delighted with the results".
The widespread use of the jpeg image format also means that downloaded records are now easier for findmypast's customers to save and share with others. Images of original historical documents can also be attached to users' family trees using findmypast's Family Tree Explorer software.
The new standard viewer is great news for Mac and Linux computer users and for those accessing the internet on public machines in libraries, family history centres, schools and universities or at places of work - anywhere in fact where downloading files is not permitted.
Users of the service can switch between the new "standard viewer" and the existing "enhanced viewer" at any time, allowing them to choose whichever best suits their needs.
The new viewer is available from today to all customers via the findmypast website at www.findmypast.com.