Saturday, February 04, 2006

Learning to value Social Bookmarking tools

7420 When David Filo and Jerry Yang first started Yahoo on a campus trailer in 1994, they could list the whole internet on a few web pages. Now, any 13 year old has a thousand of web bookmarks he needs to manage.
My first experience with bookmark web sites was with Yahoo's own. It was quite adequate for many years -- or at least I think it was adequate -- until Furl and brought new ideas to the game. To me, it was not the idea of sharing my bookmarks that mattered the most. The main advantages of such Social Bookmarking tools are (compared to Yahoo's old-fashioned bookmarking tool) for me are:

  • It makes more sense to save web "pages" (articles, blog entries, etc.) in Social Bookmarking sites rather than old-fashioned bookmarking tool. For example, can be saved in an old-fashioned bookmark. But an article about avian flu in should be saved in a Social Bookmarking tool.
  • You can easily create tags or notes to the bookmark to clearly explain what the web site is about
  • In the case of Furl, it keeps a copy of the web page, in case the original web site goes down or goes out of business
Since mid-2004, I started keeping entries in Furl. As of this blog entry's writing, I have 654 bookmarks in it. I still keep my Yahoo bookmarks because I wanted to keep "home" pages of web sites (,, etc.) separate from articles and blog entries I keep in Furl. On last count, my Yahoo bookmarks has 600+ entries in it and keeping them within the (numerous levels of) folders are beginning to be quite a hassle. That is why I am now revisiting other methods/tools for keeping my bookmarks.
After evaluating a number of bookmarking tools out there, I can sum them up thusly:
  • Yahoo Bookmarks. Cons: Simply put: not sexy. Needs the bloated Yahoo Toolbar to take advantage of.
  • Chipmark is a Yahoo Bookmarks clone. Pros: doesn't need Yahoo Toolbar. Cons: Saving bookmarks is constrained to the folder hierarchy, so you cannot have multiple tags to a bookmark (i.e. old-fashioned bookmarking).
  • Furl. Pros: Saves a copy of the bookmarked web page. Cons: Interface is a bit clunky -- it takes multiple clicks to attach new tags to a bookmark.
  • Yahoo My Web 2.0. Pros: Easy to have multiple tags to a bookmark. Easy import from Yahoo Bookmarks. Integration with other Yahoo services. Cons: Plain-looking. No easy way to import 654 bookmarks from Furl. Bulk edit can be improved.
  • Pros: Multiple tags to a bookmark. A gazillion tools/extensions available to enhance usability and user experience. Cons: Ugly-looking. Doesn't save a copy of the web page. No easy way to import from Furl.
  • Blinklist. Pros: Nice looking. Multiple tags to a bookmark. Easy to import from Furl and Yahoo Bookmarks. Cons: Doesn't save a copy of the web page.
At this point I have imported my bookmarks from Yahoo and Furl to Blinklist. However, because Blinklist doesn't create copies of web pages, I'm also keeping my bookmarks at Furl (I know, it sucks). What I'm really hoping is for Google to start getting serious in this area and enhance their own bookmarking tool (e.g. have an import feature, to start with). With its integration to the rest of Google service, it would certainly be kick-ass.