Bit.ly is a famous and widely used URL shortening service. Or at least it used to be until a few days ago, when a new Bit.ly was introduced. I managed to miss the announcement, so it was only today that I saw it. Being a fan of (almost) all new and shiny, I looked around. And within seconds I had this strong feeling of déjà vu. And this time I didn’t even have to think hard to guess where I saw this before. The answer was obvious and it was staring at me – the good old Delicious, social bookmarking service.
From a simple URL shortening service with popular API and some stats on clicks, Bit.ly is transforming into a social bookmarking service. Here are just a few things that stood out for me:
- More and more ways to add bookmarks – browser addons, mobile applications, etc.
- Social aspect of bookmarking – bit.ly now integrates Twitter and Facebook friend’s public bookmarks into your network stream.
- Bundles – I think that’s one of the major differences between a URL shortening service and a bookmarking service. With URL shortening there is no need (or it is really small) of organizing URLs – you can always just shorten it again. With bookmarks some sort of organization is a must.
- Bookmark notes – these are pretty much identical to those of Delicious.
Plenty has been said in this blog about the social bookmarking service Delicious over the years. Lately, discussions of the Delicious fate were falling into the sadness. After the web service was bought by Yahoo, it was maintained and developed for a while and then began to slow down. Things got so bad in fact, that Yahoo announced that it was selling the property. That was a moment of panic for many – after all, good or bad, Delicious was a storage of vasts amount of wisdom for many people. Pretty much every user at the moment exported data and made a few backups. Most looked at the alternative services. Some started moving over. I was in that group as well, migrating all my bookmarks to Evernote.
Anyhow, Delicious was acquired by a couple of guys who are famous for their work on YouTube, back in the day. And that was a glimpse of hope. Finally, I thought, geeky techies will know what to do with it. They will know how to breath some life into the project and bring its much deserved popularity back. They will prove me moving all my stuff to Evernote wrong.
Finally, a few days ago, the new Delicious went live. Fresh look, new features – things that we all were waiting for. Or so it seemed. Upon a closer look it turned out that most of the old useful features are gone. And the new features aren’t the ones everyone was waiting for. Overall, this is a huge transformation of the service that Delicious is. Part of it is still Delicious – there are still bookmarks and tags. But part of it is something new – stacks, improved multimedia previews, missing networking, cropped tag navigation, and such. The primary focus of the service moved. Before it was primarily a storage of bookmarks. And secondly, a place to share bookmark wisdom via networking with friends, tagging, and search. Now, it’s more of a fancy multimedia collections or something of a sort.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for new and exciting technologies. But for me personally, Delicious was something completely different. And now, with this new release, the last hope of that old Delicious the memory of which I love and cherish, is gone. It’s no more. The end of an era. It’s time to move on and explore the new age. Delicious is dead. Long live Delicious.
During the last few days I’ve been asked by several people what I think about the scary bit of news regarding the shutdown of Delicious. I’ve replied individually several times, but I feel that a blog post is in order. So here it goes.
First of all, Delicious is not being shutdown. Here is a quote from their blog:
Is Delicious being shut down? And should I be worried about my data?
– No, we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive.
Secondly, if you are worried about your data, just make a backup of it. Delicious had an export option for years. Login to your account and you’ll be able to export your bookmarks
from the Settings page.
Thirdly, I can understand that news like that could throw some people into a search for alternative mode. And here are alternatives of them out there. I haven’t tried any of them in years, since I’m a happy Delicious user. But if I were forced to choose one day, Xmarks
would be my first choice. My reasons are:
- All features that are vital for me are a part of the free subscription. More features are available for premium subscribers.
- Cross-browser support that covers all browsers that I care about.
- Support for sharing of bookmarks. That’s the main reason for me to actually use a social bookmarking service instead of a much simpler bookmark synchronization service.
- Support for private bookmarks. I want to share as much as possible, but not everything.
- Easy integration with third-party tools and services. For example, using an RSS feed.
- Support for direct import from Delicious.
But with all that said, I want to stress it once again – Delicious is not shutting down. So if you use and enjoy the service, simply continue doing just that. No need to worry.
I’ve been using Gmail for bookmarking for quite some time now. It works, but not as good as specialized bookmarking applications, such as del.icio.us . So, I’m moving many of my bookmarks from Gmail to del.icio.us . A few minutes later, I see them coming up in my Google Reader subscriptions (I’m subscribed to my own feeds as well for easier searching). I look through them and think “these are some cool links! Â I should add them to my del.icio.us bookmarks.”. Puzzled…
Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user tvset on 2006-10-13