After eighteen (18 months) of delay, Find-A-Grave finally released their beta for people to try out. You can find it at https://new.findagrave.com (instead of https://www.findagrave.com). You can also click on the link on the main page of Find-A-Grave. So far, the views expressed by those testing it out are less than positive overall with more a sense of resignation. It does have some positives, but according to many the negatives far outweigh the positives. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) and you can decide for yourself what you consider the positives and negatives of the new site. No word on exactly when it will go live. Here’s the blurb that shows up when you go to the Beta site
You can express your opinion (pro, con, neutral, or mixed) on Ancestry’s blog, in the Find-A-Grave Forums, and/or through the Beta Feedback bubble on the Beta site. They are committed to the new site so it’s highly unlikely Ancestry will listen to complaints that don’t involve large scale dropping of paid subscriptions with the reason being the new Find-A-Grave site.
One of the biggest improvements (if it works better than some early reports indicate) is the ability to do a multiple edit on one screen versus having to choose individual edits for the same person and submit them one at a time. There may be a problem with this feature, but can’t tell if it’s isolated incidents or a wider issue. It may also be an issue where somebody submits a Relationship edit on the old site and another person tries to add another relationship on the Beta site.
One of the major downsides is a mixed blessing. You can search by city, county, and country, but you would need to know the city as defined by Find-A-Grave. I ran a test case using a cemetery that is in one city, but shows as a city subdivision/township on the old site. On the new site, it is correctly shown under the city name and not the subdivision/township name. It will be interesting to see if they do it across the board or if you have to narrow it down to county (or equivalent) level. Not a problem if you are looking for an uncommon name, but if you are looking for John Smith, Mary Jones, etc., it could be a large problem.
I haven’t experienced some of the negatives reported by others, but mainly because I tend to open new Windows when possible instead of using the Back button.
Another downside is the addition of ads within the search feature. On the old site, it’s obvious where the various ads are. In the search feature on the old site, the ads within the search field are denoted with a different color. Under the Beta site, they show up as “Sponsored” and look like very similar to regular memorials. The key difference being the word Sponsored and the lack of birth/death information. It’s easy to miss if you don’t know to look for it. Comes close to bait and switch. At least with the old site, it was obvious which one was the ad.
Edits are now under the Contribute link, but that’s not an obvious selection. Better to have a separate link/tab for Edits with a way of knowing you have edits to look at. Under the current system, I can easily see how many, if any, edits I need to look at.