Online bookmarking dilemma

I have been facing the problem of which online bookmarking service to use for quite some time now. This is due to the fact that I have the StumbleUpon and Google toolbars installed on Firefox, and also have accounts on deli.cio.us, blinklist and digg (and possibly some others which I can’t remember right now :-). Too diversified for my own good you say. Well my thoughts exactly. So, if you have any suggestions or comments be my guest.

So let me do some old fashioned analysis on this subject. First off lets list my requirements:

  1. Convenient to use from browser (few steps to bookmark page)
    • browser extensions/bookmarklets to bookmark and tag pages – Brw Extn
    • tags suggestions or better yet auto tagging for known pages (a la StumbleUpon) – Tag Sugg
  2. Easy to search through bookmarks and tags – Easy Search
  3. Sharing of bookmarks – privacy settings per bookmark – Share
  4. Post to blog/other service on a timed basis (something like daily/weekly bookmark lists) – Timed posting
  5. Proper public Atom/RSS feed of bookmarks – Pub Feed
  6. Import/export bookmarks – Imp Exp

Googling for a comparison of these services gives me this Read/WriteWeb article from about a year ago, but it’s missing Google bookmarks. Looking at the list, diigo does seem interesting though. A shot at Mashable turns up an article on a list of 50+ social bookmarking sites – so much for consolidation. However, furl and bluedot do look interesting (and I have heard of them before) – save copies of the page along with the bookmark hmmm…. sounds a bit like Clipmarks. Looks like we have 2 new candidates for the lineup. So here’s the final lineup for the comparison: StumbleUpon, Google bookmarks, deli.cio.us, diigo, furl and bluedot. Now onto the comparison table (based on my experiences with some of the services, the 2 articles I mentioned and information on the sites) – column headings based on requirements list above:

Service Brw Extn Tag Sugg Easy Search Share Timed posting Pub Feed Imp Exp
StumbleUpon Y Y N Y N Y N
Google bookmarks Y N Y N N N Y
deli.cio.us Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
diigo Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
furl Y N Y Y ? Y Y
bluedot Y ? Y Y ? Y Y

Looks like we have a tie in the feature comparison between deli.cio.us and diigo. I’ve tried deli.cio.us before, but diigo does seem quite feature rich and promising. In fact diigo seems to support posting bookmarks to rival services. On the other hand, deli.cio.us is quite well known and supported almost everywhere (wordpress.com even provides a widget), and I have found people posting their bookmarks to their blogs on a weekly/daily basis (possibly using technique like this). Then again diigo is a lot easier to type when making a review :D. It was reviewed favourably on cnet.

Jokes aside, let me try out diigo for some time before I make the final (I wonder if there’s any such thing as “final” ) decision. Now only if there was some way in which I could get my shipment of bookmarks from StumbleUpon to diigo somehow.

To round things up, just a few notes on some of the other services:

  • StumbleUpon is still quite good, especially for its “channel surfing” ability, but it’s not the best suited to be used as a bookmark manager. Also, the bookmarks feed does not seem to be supported on some sites twitterfeed and tumblr. So, sharing this way is ruled out for the time being (it does work with Google Reader which supports sharing)
  • Google bookmarks is also quite easy to use through the Google toolbar, but there’s no way to share the bookmarks or set their privacy. They did add the missing Import/Export feature sometime back, so we could expect the feature set to grow. Also, there is not much integration with other Google services like notebook, browser sync etc, which makes the service seem a bit orphaned right now.
  • I’ve tried blinklist, but the problem with that was the browser bookmarklet which didn’t load properly all the time. So, it failed at the basic level itself.

Update (20/9/2007-4:00pm IST): I’ve started using diigo and imported my bookmarks from deli.cio.us, which is a built in feature, and also installed the diigo toolbar on Firefox. The bookmarking and highlighting feature seems to be working properly, with the ability to post simultaneously to deli.cio.us and other such service (as a backup). However, the daily blog posting doesn’t seem to be properly implemented (getting error messages – seems to be done using Ruby on Rails) yet. So I have set up deli.cio.us for this, and the posting seems to be working properly.

Update (21/9/2007-10:25pm IST): Google has added a shared stuff service which allows you to share websites with others. It is not integrated with Google bookmarks at the moment, but the email feature is linked to your gmail account, plus there’s an RSS feed. So, 2 of the missing features in Google bookmarks (sharing and public feeds) could possibly be taken care of by this service.

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Writer and StoryTop

I came across a couple of interesting sites today – Writer and StoryTop – through Lifehacker and downsquad respectively. Writer is an online text editor with a very simple interface (distraction free interface as per the Lifehacker post). It also allows you to post your notes onto some common blogs in the draft mode. You can also create an account for better management. If you are interested in simple and distraction free text editors, you can also try out Darkroom which is for Windows or WriteRoom for Mac OS X.

Coming to StoryTop, it is an online story creation tool, as the name suggests. It allows you to create, save and share simple stories which can span multiple pages. I guess it could also be used for making simple presentations, and not just stories.

Twitterment for twitter analytics

I came across the twitterment search engine/twitter statistical analysis tool through the Scobleizer blog entry on Google search history function. Twitterment and similar search engines can really develop into something big for advertisers and market analysts who’re studying current trends granted that twittering and similar social services remain popular.

I also tried out a search to find other twitter search engines, and came across a blog entry on the exact topic. The entry lists 4 search engines including twitterment along with a Google co-op search.

Personally, I am not into twittering, though I do have a twitter account. I even configured and tried out the twitter posting using gtalk, but didn’t really end up twittering much. It’s probably a case of the useless account syndrome, due to which I sign up for whatever service I come across. Then again, maybe I’ll start using it regularly sometime.

Omni-directional driving

I came across an interesting puzzle on the Humanized site through one of my feeds. The puzzle was to design a car that is not forward/reverse modal (basically do away with the gear shift, which creates multiple modes for the accelerator). There were quite a few interesting and innovative solutions, with suggestions ranging from using joysticks to providing separate buttons/pedals for the reverse functionality.

While going through this puzzle and the answers, I came across the Airtrax site, which designs omni-directional vehicles, i.e., vehicles which can move in any direction. They have a small video on the front page demonstrating the vehicle capabilities, and also a page with some information on the omni-directional drive system.

404 errors and server complaints

I was going through one of the Geek Trivia articles on TechRepublic on the origin of the 404 – page not found error (which everyone would have encountered at some point of time), and it contained a link to a very interesting and humorous page. The page is something like a page not found error from the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” world, with the server giving you a nice lecture. Wonder what it would be like if we had the server responding in a similar fashion for all the errors that we encounter on the web.

Some new google techs

Google seems to have launched a couple of revolutionary technologies today – one the Gmail paper and the other being Google TiSP (which you’ll find on the main page) – and both are free. Gmail paper is basically a service which allows you to get physical copies of your emails (including photos) delivered to you as regular mail. Google TiSP on the other hand is Google’s new free wireless broadband access service.

And just in case you are wondering how Google’s managing to provide these superb services for free, just take a look at the calendar, and things should become clear ;-).

Another virtual world coming up

I was going through my feeds today and came across a post on Scobleizer about a “New Virtual world coming from Australia“, which talks about another Secondlife like virtual world being developed. The virtual world is named Outback Online with the tag-line “User Generated Places”, and is being developed by Yoick. The basic aim of the project seems to be to provide a 3D social network. Right now, there is not much information available on the site or the blog, other than a beta sign-up form.

Useless Account – just for laughs

Another site I came across through one of my Google Reader subscriptions – Useless Account. It basically satirizes the rate at which people (me included) are signing up for new services that are mushrooming on the net. The site allows you to create an account and tinker around with it – that’s about it. Read the faqs section for some more laughs. And no, I have not signed up for an account on the site….. yet :-).

Make: iPod stethoscopes, chargers etc

I came across the Make: site through one of my RSS feeds, and it has quite a lot of interesting projects and podcasts on it. The site has quite a few projects for/using the iPod, including an iPod based stethoscope which can be used to record and playback heart sounds, a USB adapter and charger kit among many others. There are also many other projects like an open source mp3 player, an alarm clock that runs away and a wifi liberator.