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Social (or Cloud) Bookmarking

Posted @ 12:15 pm by Spencer Rhodes | Category: Social Bookmarking | 1 Comment

After setting up countless personal and work computers over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of information around the web. With the ever-growing list of data to sync or migrate, I’ve begun moving much of my non-critical data into cloud services to make this easier.

Some of the top bookmarking services

Here are some of the top bookmarking sites, in no particular order.

And some that aren’t social, just backed up and synchronized:

Choosing a social/cloud bookmarking service

The different bookmarking services serve different needs. I’ll outline the strengths that I see in each of these sites. Just remember, do your own research too. Your experience may be very different from mine.

Delicious

Delicious is great for backing up your bookmarks and accessing them from any browser with an internet connection. Because it was one of the earliest options, there’s been a lot of satellite development around it and a lot of tools and extensions are available. You can easily sync Delicious with your browser if you like using the built in bookmark menu.

Diigo

Diigo has less browser integration in that you can’t sync your local folder with it. It really is a bookmarks folder replacement. It’s more robust in its tagging, searching, and accessibility than the native solutions—much like Delicious—but is equipped with what I feel is a better user experience. Diigo also has a highlighting feature that lets you select text and highlight it, leave sticky notes, and save those with the bookmark for your own reference or to help when sharing the bookmark with someone else.

Diigo highlight feature

 

This annotation feature is awesome.

 

Diigo sticky note annotation feature

Google Bookmarks

I’ve not really used Google Bookmarks, but I know a lot of people like it, and being a Google product it’s pretty well integrated into their stuff. I’ve given Google so much of my information already, so I figured I’d look elsewhere for this.

Pinterest

Pinterest is more commercially oriented by design. It’s really an advertising tool, but can be used as a visual bookmark or mood board if you so choose. Great for project research.

Evernote and Springpad

I mention Evernote and Springpad because, while not explicitly bookmarking sites, there is a lot of overlapping functionality and then a whole crazy bunch more. These tools, as bookmarking sites, may be best suited for research, but I’m sure they are flexible enough to be used in myriad of other unforeseen ways. Perhaps I’ll write about how I use Springpad in a later post.

My choices

I can’t stand browser-only bookmarks. I use three operating systems, and 3-4 browsers in each. In a time when we have at least two devices, if not a handful of them, having my bookmarks locked up in one of those is useless. I’ve collected and curated my library of reference information over many years and what good is it if I can’t get to it? Cloud or social bookmarking sites solve this problem for me.

I was a happy enough Delicious user for many years. But in early 2007, Yahoo! announced they were terminating/selling the project and, being pretty dependent on the service, I scrambled to find a replacement for fear of it being shut down. I tried a few services and ultimately landed on Diigo which I’ve been using uninterrupted ever since. I chose Diigo because it was a close analog to Delicious, it supported cross-posting to Delicious at the time (just in case it survived), had good importing tools, and seemed more robust and better conceived than Delicious.

As I started doing more development in more environments on more machines, I’d accumulated a set of tools (bookmarklets) that I wanted available in all my environments. I don’t need all my bookmarks ever sync’d completely with my browser because they really only get used occasionally. So essentially, I have two sets of bookmarks: the always-on tools and the informational/reference ones.

Enter Xmarks. With Xmarks I sync just my toolbar folder (always on) across Chrome, Firefox, and occasionally IE (one way). This was before Chrome or Firefox had baked in sync features, so it’s largely redundant now. I do struggle a bit with multiple duplicates occasionally between Xmarks and the baked in sync systems, but it’s a small price to pay for having those tools available in all my browsers. But all of my non-tool reference bookmarks are not in my bookmarks folder on any browser. They are strictly in the cloud, where I can get them if I need them, and managed in a much smarter way than any of the native bookmarking systems.

Xmarks supported browsers

 

If you don’t have to use IE, or you primarily use just one browser, than I’d say skip Xmarks and use the built in sync for any bookmarks you need on all your computers, or just as a backup. But it really is helpful if you routinely use different browsers.

 

 

Author: Spencer Rhodes is a front end developer with SolutionSet in the San Francisco Bay Area. He works with many clients, big and small, to bring their websites to life. 

One thought on “Social (or Cloud) Bookmarking

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