Top 5 Social Bookmarking Services
If you spend a lot of time online or do any kind of web based
research, chances are the Bookmarks menu in your browser is no longer
sufficient for you. If you browse the web from more than one computer,
storing bookmarks in the browser is downright counterproductive. It is
time to choose an online bookmarking tool. Here are Pandia’s top 5
social bookmarking services.
Social bookmarking means storing your bookmarks online, tagging them to remember why you wanted to save them and what you might want them for in the future. You can also share them with others who might value your web surfing experiences. And don’t worry - you can always choose to keep some or even all of your bookmarks private if, for some reason, you don’t want to share.
Social bookmarking sites are in many ways the ultimate
folksonomies, categorising web content by an open process of tagging.
The result is a road map of the web, based on the recommendations of
people who have traveled it extensively.
In many ways, the
information gathered by social bookmarking services is like the wild,
young sibling of the web directories. But now, every web surfer is a
potential editor, licensed to categorize and recommend all kinds of web
You probably browse the web from home, at work and possibly on your smartphone. If you do, storing bookmarks in the browser can be annoying and counterproductive. You need an online bookmarking tool to have easy access to all your favorite web sites regardless of which device you use to get online. Here are Pandia’s top 5 social bookmarking services.
Social bookmarking is like a quiet, clever
sister among her fancy Web 2.0 siblings. YouTube and Facebook are so
much fun; they get all the attention. But the social bookmarking
services are in many ways much more useful for most people and they are
equally social (or at least they could be).
What to look for
When researching for this article, I registered with and tested over 20 tools for social bookmarking. Some were discarded because of bugs or spam. The remaining were sorted by these criteria:
- A decent amount of users is necessary. Otherwise the whole social aspect looses relevance.
- The service has to have quite extensive documentation, FAQ and/or help pages, to guide users.
- More advanced users will want good import and export possibilities. Import is necessary for bringing old bookmarks from your browser or from another online bookmarking service, export is important for backup copies and to ensure that your bookmarks can go with you to another service if you decide to switch.
- A good bookmarking service should have feeds (RSS and/or Atom) of tags or groups of tags.
- I would want my bookmarking service to have a blog so I can be kept up to date about new features, bugs, bug fixes and more.
All the top 5 social bookmarking services in this article comply with these criteria, except for Bluedot which doesn’t have an export option. And the winners are…
LookSmart’s Furl is one of the seniors of social bookmarking and definitely among the most advanced. If you are serious about your online research, this is the tool for you.
Navigating among all of Furl’s features is easy - everything is stored behind four tabs. The tab My Archive displays all of your bookmarks. All the essential tools are kept in a neat little box. It lets you search your own bookmarks, all of Furl or the entire web. Drop-down menus let you sort your bookmarks by tag, by date or both.
The bookmark list has lots of tools that make it easy to move, delete or email bookmarks, and clicking on the Edit tool lets you store and edit all kinds of information. If you are a blogger or a webmaster, code is available that will display your recent Furl entries on your web site.
Furl is among the few services that store a copy of the whole web page when you bookmark it. This can be a very useful tool. Unfortunately, no copies are generated for my imported bookmarks. I also ran into another problem when importing bookmarks from del.icio.us: Bookmarks with more than one tag had their tags melted into one, e.g. a single tag called “google,searchengine_news” in stead of the two tags “google” and “searchengine_news”.
Netvouz is a powerful tool for social bookmarking. You can view and sort your bookmarks in many ways — all bookmarks or new bookmarks, tag list or tag cloud, like many other bookmarking services. You can also sort bookmarks by rating, date or name.
Netvouz is the only bookmarking service that lets you place groups of tags in folders that are displayed high up on the page. You may also add “Hotpicks” — your most frequently used bookmarks — that always are available on the very top. These features are of great help for those of us who are storing hundreds of bookmarks online.
Netvouz also has an automatic link checker that regularly verifies that all your bookmarks are valid and alerts you in case they are not. I haven’t seen this anywhere else.
The only downside is the community part. Nervouz has no support for recommendations, friends or groups like many other social bookmarking services. All that is on offer is “New public links” and “Popular tags” on the front page.
Del.icio.us is by far the most popular social bookmarking tool out there. It is not the most powerful, though. I have kept my bookmarks on del.icio.us for some time now and the reason I stay on is the community. The tools for sharing are not very powerful — you can add people to your network and share links with them, and that’s about it. The effect of sharing can be great, though, because of the size of the community.
On del.icio.us you can view your bookmarks as a tag list or a tag cloud. Tags can be sorted alphabetically or by frequency.
Behind the Help link you find tips for advanced searching and navigation and some unofficial tools that can make del.icio.us work for more demanding users. Among the advanced features are network badges, link rolls, and tag rolls that help bloggers and webmasters to display their del.icio.us activities on their own blogs and sites.
There are no very
powerful tools for sorting or editing bookmarks. Paradoxically, this
might be a reason for del.icio.us’ popularity. It offers just what the
average web surfer needs.
Mister Wong is developed in Germany and is Europe’s largest bookmarking service. Though it started in German, Mister Wong is now available in English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and French.
If you navigate better by way of images than text, Mister Wong is for you: Each bookmark is represented by a thumbnail of the web page it links to in addition to the title and any description you add. If the thumb nail is too small to yield the necessary information — or if Mister Wong has failed to produce a thumb nail (this happens) — you can point your mouse to an icon next to the bookmark title to have a larger preview pop up.
Next to the preview icon is another useful tool: a star icon you can click to add a bookmark to your top bookmarks. These are always easily abailable from the bookmark menu.
Unfortunately, Mister Wong no longer supports groups. You can still be social and share bookmarks through a network of friends, called Buddies.
Simpy is another old-timer in the world of social bookmarking. Unlike Furl , Simpy hasn’t updated its look much. This gives it an odd but cute retro look. This does not compromise ease of use, though.
In addition to storing your bookmarks, Simpy also stores notes. With the Note This! bookmarkletbookmarklet you highlight and save text. Notes are private and each note gets a title and you can add tags to it, just like the bookmarks. When searching, you can choose to search notes or bookmarks — your own or everyone’s.
Simpy supports groups, but you can’t add people as friends. In stead, Simpy has watchlists that let you subscribe to the bookmarks of other users. Simpy keeps track of new links that you have not yet seen and alerts you when a watchlist has new links. Another neat social feature is that when you add a bookmark to Simpy, you get the option to send the link to a friend in addition to saving it to saving it to your account. All you do is add a Simpy user name or an email address.
Diigo is fun! It is my absolute favorite. This service has an enormous amount of tools and features — it is more than a bookmarking service, it is a complete tool for online research.
To start with the basics, Diigo is easy to use. Tabs and pull-down menus in addition to the tag cloud makes it easy to navigate, sort and edit bookmarks and tags. I have 1000+ bookmarks, so this is important to me. If you do research online, you’ll soon value these tools.
In addition to being a bookmark tool, Diigo lets you add sticky notes and highlight text on any web page just like you would on paper. This way, information can be highlighted on web pages for easy scanning later and snippets of information can be saved for sharing, editing and reference. The highlights and sticky notes are private by default, but can be shared with your Diigo friends in a number of ways.
possibilities for social networking on Diigo are unequaled in the world
of social bookmarking. Diigo has a group tool for collaborative
research that allows groups of people to pool their findings through
shared bookmarks, highlights, sticky notes, and forum discussions. There
are also communities formed around web sites (like Wikipedia) and tags
(like Web 2.0).
Ma.gnolia has the sleekest design of all the social bookmarking services. And even though beauty is generally considered to be skin deep, high quality web design with lots of white space and easy navigation makes me happy. Never underestimate the value of beautiful design.
At Ma.gnolia there are tutorials, a FAQ and even a wiki for support, and if you send a mail to the support team, you get an answer quickly, even at weekends.
With contacts, groups and discussions, there are plenty of ways to share bookmarks both within and outside of Ma.gnolia.
You can search your bookmarks (or the bookmarks of all Ma.gnolia members) or browse them as a tag list or a tag cloud. You can rate your bookmarks, which is convenient, and it is easy to edit single bookmarks or all the bookmarks with a certain tag.
Furl and Ma.gnolia are the only bookmarking services I have come across that save a copy of the web pages you bookmark. There is also a widget that lets you quickly add a link roll of your saved Ma.gnolia bookmarks to your blog or web page.
But if you have many bookmarks with the same tag, it can be difficult to scroll through them in Ma.gnolia. What I miss is a list view where each bookmark takes up no more than a couple of lines and you can choose to view, say, 25, 50 or 75 bookmarks at a time.
Bluedot is the bookmarking tool for the MySpace crowd. The main focus is inviting friends and sharing dots (your annotated bookmarks). You can import contacts from your AOL, Gmail,MSN or Yahoo! account and then invite them to your Bluedot network. You edit your profile with information about your location and interests and add a photo or an avatar if you like. Of these top 5 bookmarking tools only Ma.gnolia has a similar profile option.
You can choose to view your dots as a list (which is not very useful once you have more than 25 bookmarks) or as a list of tags. Each tag is displayed as a stack, showing the name of the tag and the number of dots in it. There are no other sorting options, but there are plenty of options for sharing: You can comment on your own dots or those of others or you can share dots by email, and each dot has a permalink that displays name, rating, comments and more.
I would have liked an option to view more than 10 dots per screen. And is it really necessary with two prominent Google Ads banners on each page displaying dots?
What about the rest?
There are many great bookmarking services out there. These five are my favorites, but I would also recommend Yahoo’s MyWeb which is a quite powerful tool or Blogmarks which is good looking and includes thumbnail previews of your bookmarked pages.
But where’s Google? The Google Bookmarks tool is simply no good compared to these top 5 tools. The design is uncluttered and the service looks deceptively easy to use, but you need to spend a lot of time figuring out how things work. There is no Help link in sight and the help I found searching Google’s help base wasn’t always useful. Google should either start spending some serious money developing this tool or go out and buy one, like Simpy, which is a very decent service with good community features.
Here is an example of a del.icio.us tag roll displaying some of my tags:
Bookmarking and search
You may use these services to find high quality web sites, the premise being that sites bookmarked by real human users have been through a rather thorough review process.
The search engines know this, and when Yahoo! bought del.icio.us — in spite of the fact that it already had its own bookmarking service — this was partly because it knew that bookmarks can be interpreted as a vote for web page quality. Del.icio.us has a lot of bookmarks!
In other words: Yahoo! may use data from the bookmarking service as a factor in its search engine algorithm. Whether the company actually does so, we do not know, but the search engine companies are definitely considering such a move.
This is a text only archived version of previously published article
"Top 5 social bookmarking services", We made it available to the users
mainly because it is still one of the most search article from old site.
Much of the content should be outdated now.