The 1911 census for England and Wales is now online (or at least, 80% of it is), and the site appears to be coping well with demand. I'm mostly delighted by this, but there is one fly in the ointment.
First, the good news. The records are fully searchable, leading to discoveries unlikely to be made browsing through paper copies. For example, one of my great-aunts had left the village she was born in (and to which she would later return) for Birmingham. She was domestic servant to a butcher and his family. A woman from the same area was working for the same family as a butcher's assistant, which suggests that Great-Aunt Charity found the job by word of mouth.
1911 is also the first census for which the original returns have been preserved. That means that you can see the original entries in the occupier's own writing. It's nice to know that my great-great grandmother had really neat handwriting; and perhaps surprising that she couldn't spell 'Ebenezer', her own son's name!
The release of the census has also highlighted a little bit of feminist history: many suffragists refused to fill in the forms as part of their fight for the vote. Their comments, such as 'If I am intelligent enough to fill in this paper, I am intelligent enough to put a cross on a voting paper', survive on the original returns.
The downside? Simply, the cost. You might want to search sparingly since each original page image - just one household - costs up to £3.48. It is a beautiful, sharp, colour image and the digitisation process is expensive. However, this pricing rather discourages browsing through even small local areas, let alone checking multiple records to track down a person with a common name. If you do want to find more than a few records, the site's blog suggests that a subscription option will become available later this year.