Furl “absorbed by Diigo”

News broke this morning that Furl, the online bookmarking service, has been “absorbed” by Diigo and is to be phased out. The Furl web site says:

“We worked hard to find Furl a home where loyal users like you could continue to benefit from best-of-breed social bookmarking and annotation tools. Hands down, Diigo.com was the winner due to its innovative approach to online research tools and knowledge sharing.

The Diigo team is dedicated to making sure you continue to get top notch features and service. They’ve got a crack team of technologists who love making research and knowledge sharing as easy and efficient as possible.”

Frankly, I’m not surprised. Despite having a vastly superior range of features to Del.icio.us it has never managed to match the latter’s publicity. It has always remained in the backwaters of social boomarking, being used mostly by researchers who need to annotate their bookmarks, download or back up files, or archive copies of pages they have referred to in reports. The last is what had appealed to many of my clients. One of the problems with using information from free web pages – even on government sites – is that the content can change within minutes of you having completed your analysis and report. The client may then come back and point out the the cited page does not have the data you claim, or even worse, has disappeared. Furl allowed you to archive a copy of the page as it was when you visited it.  I must confess that I was always uneasy about this part of the service as I suspected that in some cases it would be a breach of copyright, but the alternative is to either use the Wayback Machine (not reliable) or keep a local copy with something like Scrapbook for Firefox.

I don’t use online bookmarking services. I travel extensively and am often in situations where the wi-fi is unreliable or non-existent, so I prefer to have as much of my reference material available offline as is possible. Many of my clients do make extensive use of  them, though,  so I have tested several over the past couple of years – Del.icio.us, Furl, Connotea, 2Collab. Of them all I found Furl to be the most useful for what I call  “serious” business resource management.

On Furl this morning there are options to transfer to Diigo. I decided to test it out and went for the the new user option but was told that my email address for the login had “already been taken”. The fact that I had forgotten trying Diigo is worrying; I was obviously so unimpressed the first time around that I did not record the details. I assumed that I had used my default password for testing new services and it worked. Diigo is now busy importing  my Furl files.

I only hope that Diigo has improved since my last unmemorable visit and that it will combine the best of both services to provide an even better one. But, as we all know, online life’s not like that.

5 thoughts on “Furl “absorbed by Diigo””

  1. I too am disappointed, but not surprised, at the news. I tried out a number of bookmarking sites for business use and settled on Furl some time ago. I vaguely remember trying Diigo but was, obviously, not impressed. Not tried it recently – why would I? I am, however, going to have a good look round at alternatives since it’s my personal / business reference library that I want to be able to access at whichever of my three places of work I happen to be!

  2. Thanks for the feedback on Furl and Diigo, Hazel. I’d be interested to hear what you settle on. A couple of scientist friends of mine use Connotea but that’s because they can collect together their citations for papers in various folders and then export them in the appropriate format for their manuscripts. It can be used for any subject area really but I’ve always felt an imposter when I’ve tested it on business applications!


  3. Agreed, Furl was always better than anything else I found and i have used it afirly consistently from the beginning. They seemed to get what mattered about bookmarking.

    Incidentally, I have also been using Zotero which works like a local version of Furl, archiving the pages so that you always have the original on your own machine and, like Furl, it exports citations in a number of formats.

    Here’s hoping it doesn’t just die and that maybe it invigorates Diigo, of which I had never heard before.

  4. Hi Earl,

    Thanks for the feedback. I understand from a couple of other colleagues that Diigo has the “store pages” features. My Furl files don’t seem to have been transferred yet so I can’t test it out yet. It has been nearly 24 hours now so I’m beginning to wonder if there is something odd about my collection.

    I have Zotera installed here but use it mainly for extracting the metadata from pages, photos, books etc and creating citations for reports. The accuracy and completeness depends on how the pages and web site has been set up but it at least provides the framework. I really ought to investigate it for my local web archive rather than using a separate tool (Scrapbook) for that. I had Scrapbook first so have carried on using it.

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