Today I learned of a new iPhone app and service called BillionGraves.com. I don’t have an iPhone, but I am excited by the potential. My first reaction was “oh no – we already have Find-A-Grave. Why would they compete with them?” But, in looking at the BillionGraves site, the function is quite different and is really meant to cater to smartphone users – something that Find-A-Grave has not yet aggressively done.
Almost a year ago I blogged a wishlist for what I wanted in a potential Find-A-Grave smartphone app. And, there is already an independently developed app to access Find-A-Grave data. From the looks of it, BillionGraves is meant to make it easy to take a picture when in a cemetery and upload it. Find-A-Grave does not support this and the app is okay, but doesn’t quite meet my interests.
What I like about BillionGraves:
- even w/o the app, I can go online and transcribe photos that others have uploaded. can you say crowdsourcing? the transcription process is very easy
- each tombstone picture can be edited by anyone. i like this though I can also see potential problems.
- automatic GPS integration from phone coordinates. my problem is my Samsung Fascinate phone is notorious for incorrect GPS.
- the interface is simple – easy to click around
What could be better:
- looks like you have to physically be in a cemetery to upload pics; can’t upload pics you already have or someone else may send you for posting
- because the images can be edited by anyone a revision history and the ability to see who worked on a record would be nice
- a dashboard is offered for you when you login, but no one else can see your dashboard
- info is JUST the picture. can’t add supplemental info like you can at Find-A-Grave or link family relationships
- search options should be enhanced to provide more refined combinations (like person + location)
- city names are provided for cemetery info, but not the counties – major omission if you ask me. In a Search you can specify county, but if you end up on the cemetery page in another way you won’t immediately know the county
- it’s not clear to me how they will avoid duplicate entries. this will be important to do.
- the company does not have a social media presence? they do have a blog, but it’s not linked to the BillionGraves site — both of these issues need to be remedied soon
- they could take a few more suggestions from my blog post aforementioned about features in incorporate 🙂
This endeavor is of course new so I do expect they will continue to develop it. However, even as is, it will be a useful complement to Find-A-Grave and I can see myself using both on a regular basis. Very cool.
A.C. Ivory posted on his blog about it and mentioned he would post more for his Mobile Monday posts. I hope he shares his experience actually using the app in the field!