Tag Archives: del.icio.us

Yahoo! bungles! it! yet! again!

Unbelievable! Just when I thought Yahoo could not do anything more stupid than they’ve done in the past we learn that Delicious (http://www.delicious.com/) is to be axed. The leaked information is on a slide shown at an all hands meeting at Yahoo following the latest staff cutbacks. More details and discussion can be found at Is Yahoo Shutting Down Del.icio.us? [Update: Yes], R.I.P. Delicious: You Were So Beautiful to Me and Confirmed: Yahoo Closing Buzz, Traffic APIs – Maybe Delicious & AltaVista. Also for the chop are AltaVista and AlltheWeb.

I am not surprised that AltaVista and Alltheweb are to go. For a while they were used by Yahoo as test beds yet now they just sit out there on the web rotting away. But to get rid of one of the most widely known social bookmarking services is lunacy. Delicious has made its way on to millions of web pages with its ‘bookmark with Delicious’ buttons and inclusion in share bars. How hard can it be for Yahoo to make Delicious worth-while in hard-nosed business terms? Chris Keene has several excellent suggestions and comments in his blog posting Delicious. I doubt that any of his arguments would change Yahoo;s mind as Delicious is apparently “off strategy”. This does make one wonder what Yahoo’s strategy is or if it has really ever had one.

Yahoo started off life as a directory of web sites, and not any old web site was granted admittance. You had to apply to the editors with a description of your site and the categories under which you wanted to be listed. You then waited nervously for a couple of weeks for the yay or nay. I can remember the sound of champagne corks popping in my tiny little office at home when I heard the news that my site had been accepted. An entry in the Yahoo directory was the bees knees and worth far more than being picked up by the likes of Lycos (then a serious search engine) or Infoseek. My site is still there, although the directory is now difficult to find (go straight to http://dir.yahoo.com/) and has not been updated in years.

In the early days Yahoo was a serious contender for world search engine domination. For a while it used Google to power its web search before acquiring the technology to do its own thing, but it was ahead of the game in other areas. My Yahoo! offered customised start pages long before iGoogle was a twinkle in Page and Brin’s eye. (I still use it for weather forecasts, monitoring my share portfolio and currency exchange rates). Yahoo Finance – again pre-dating Google’s offering by several years – is  far superior in stock market coverage to Google Finance and more stable. The problem with both products is that not many people know about them and Yahoo has not done much with them since their inception. Google, on the other hand, constantly changes, updates and adds new features – sometimes to the great annoyance of users.

Remember AlltheWeb Live Search? This was a search engine that started to display results as soon as you started typing in your terms and the results changed as you entered more words. Sound familiar? Yes, Google Instant works in a similar way but AlltheWeb’s version was far superior and easier to use. Yahoo dropped it.

Yahoo Mindset? Another test search engine in which you moved a slider bar to change the emphasis of the results to sites that had more to do with shopping or ones that were more research oriented. It was very popular with those who knew about it. Yahoo dropped it.

So what are users of Delicious to do? The good news is that you can export your bookmarks and then import to other services. The bad news is that some have reported that the tags go awry. I vaguely recollect having this problem a while back when I was testing out social bookmark sites and how well they coped with exports/imports.  For further information on alternatives see Search Engine Land’s 10 Alternatives To Delicious.com Bookmarking. You may prefer to sit tight in the hope that Delicious is reprieved but at least export your bookmarks now so you have a backup, and start looking at the alternatives. Of course, those could  also disappear.

Yahoo seems to be on a downward spiral to the search engine graveyard. Which service is next on the Yahoo executioner’s list, I wonder? I can’t believe that it would drop Flickr but then I thought Delicious would be safe. Now, where do I sign up for Picasa?

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.