In December, a leaked presentation slide from an internal meeting at Internet firm Yahoo! Inc. revealed that the company was planning to “sunset” Delicious (www.delicious.com), its popular social bookmarking service. That meant development on the service would freeze, and the site would be sold. At the news, roughly a third of the Internet cried out in horror. The rest went “Buh?”
Social bookmarking, for the uninitiated, is an immensely useful thing. Think of all the links that the people you follow on Twitter share. Now imagine all of those neatly organized, tagged, shared at will and returned to later at a date of your choice. Delicious allowed you to do that. Wherever you were, on a phone, tablet or unknown computer, you had instant access to all the pages you’d bookmarked, complete with little notes or tags you’d saved them with. Some people used it to manage projects, others used it to discover interesting new content (similar to services such as StumbleUpon) and many used it as a quick, efficient way of remembering all the fascinating things you found on the Internet.
Noted: Social bookmarking keeps you organized.
And now it will soon be gone. It might take a while before any other service approaches Delicious’ level of functionality and depth, but here are a few alternatives for those new to the whole thing, and to help the veterans tide over the loss of an old friend.
Diigo is a free bookmarking service that is already cashing in on the Delicious shutdown—the home page features a step-by-step guide to help you make the transition from one to the other. Diigo features most of what made Delicious great—tagging, posting collections of your bookmarks to your blog or website, “following” other people’s bookmarks—but goes beyond in interesting directions. For instance, Diigo allows you to annotate saved pages and archive them for later perusal. Diigo is available for most browsers as a toolbar—Firefox, IE and Chrome—and has apps for Android and iPhone (Opera users have an inbuilt service called Link—https://link.opera.com/). You can import your existing Delicious bookmarks to a Diigo account for free.
Google Bookmarks is the minimalist Delicious. It connects to your Google account, so setting it up takes seconds if you already have a Gmail ID. At the moment, Google Bookmarks is a bit basic— you can save and tag bookmarks, but sharing and exporting options are limited.
Being a Google product, however, it’s definitely one to watch out for, and it’s free. You can expect robust Android support and integration with all the other Google services (Gmail, Google Calendar, Buzz) in the near future. It sounds immensely useful on paper to have access to your bookmarks right out of your inbox—but Google Bookmarks hasn’t quite reached that level of development yet.
Technically, Evernote is a personal note-taking service: You save little snippets of notes to self (“Read up recipe for Mushroom Bourguignon”, “Buy mosquito repellent”) , bookmark sites you find interesting, and file pictures and videos you may have clicked on your mobile into your online account. Thanks to its excellent mobile application, Evernote is highly recommended for people on the go—little ideas or brainwaves hatched on the Metro or in a flight can be quickly stowed away and returned to later. Evernote also has some neat advanced features—it can recognize text in photographs. So you can just take photos of visiting cards or restaurant menus, and Evernote works out what’s written on them.
Evernote works for bookmarks too. But it is private where Delicious was semi-public, so use it as a personal catalogue. If sharing and discovery are more important, go for Diigo instead. The service is free.
Pinboard is the closest thing to Delicious we have on the Web. It describes itself as “Delicious for introverts”, and even has a nifty “should you switch?” guide. The similarities are not surprising—one of the heads of the site, Peter Gadjokov, was the co-founder of Delicious. Pinboard is focused on speed and utility—the site and service are fast and lightweight. Being a paid service, it is also completely spam-free, leaving the designers to focus on adding features and fixing bugs. Pinboard offers an excellent “archival” service that stores away your bookmarks permanently. It’s a solid option for those who can’t live without their meticulously organized bookmarks. If you’re new to this whole thing, however, it might make sense to try one of the free services first. Don’t worry about switching later—Pinboard offers the ability to import your bookmarks from almost every other site out there. Registration currently costs $9.19 (Rs416).