Yahoo! Bookmarks

by Bob Plankers on October 27, 2006 · 2 comments

in General Rambling,Product Review

Yahoo! released what looks like a follow-on to del.icio.us in the form of Yahoo! Bookmarks.

Update: Tom Chi from Yahoo! commented below on my remarks. Digg.com has his comments, and they make sense. Part of my problem is that I didn’t realize there was an old Yahoo! Bookmarks offering. I still think some of my criticism is relevant, but they know their own audience, or more specifically, both of their audiences. Thanks for adding to the discussion, Tom.

My first impressions of Yahoo! Bookmarks:

  • I agree with LifeHacker that the del.icio.us interface leaves something to be desired.
  • You can’t automatically post your bookmarks to a blog. That sucks. The del.icio.us interface for that was turbo-clunky but it works reliably.
  • The “Bookmark It!” tool bar thing pops up a new window underneath everything. What good is that? I want the thing on top so I can interact with it right then and there to save my bookmark. This might be a Firefox problem, though. However, the default behaviour should be the right thing, and should account for the browser’s behaviour. Imagine explaining how to fix this problem to your mom.
  • The “Bookmark It!” bookmarklet interface is clunky. I liked the del.icio.us free form text field where I could type a few things and then hit enter.
  • I really like the idea that I can use folders or tags. Lots of people just don’t think in terms of tagging, and folders are more natural to them. Tags seem like a real afterthought in this product, though.
  • The “Send” feature is pointless. I don’t want to send something via IM from Yahoo!. You know how I do that now? I open my IM client and paste the URL in there. Likewise, I send URLs in email by pasting the URL into an email and sending it. All the skills I need to email or IM a URL I learned in kindergarten. :-)
  • “The all new Yahoo! Bookmarks…” sidebar ad needs a “close” button on it. I got the bookmarklet. Leave me alone.
  • Where do the recommended bookmarks come from? I didn’t have anything bookmarked and it recommended stuff to me. If it did some form of recommendations a la last.fm or Amazon that’d be cool.
  • I like the screenshots with the bookmarks. A lot of people put a lot of time into the way their site looks, and that gives some credit to it.
  • The import from del.icio.us doesn’t work at all. I save the XML output I get from api.del.icio.us as instructed, but all I get is an empty folder called “Del.icio.us Import” inside whatever folder I told it to put the bookmarks in. Which also means that I would have to go and move my bookmarks out of that folder and put them where I said they should go. Annoying. Why can’t the tool just talk to del.icio.us for me?
  • I don’t like the fact that I have to select a bookmark and then explicitly edit it. I’d rather click an icon next to each bookmark than go through a few extra steps to select and perform an action.
  • You can’t see who else is bookmarking the same thing you are. In fact, the idea of social bookmarking is completely absent from this product, as others cannot see my bookmarks, either. It’s just a fancy personal bookmark manager. Update: this is somewhat intentional, as per the comments.

Final conclusion: Yahoo! Bookmarks initial good looks belie the fact that the product team completely missed the point. Everything that makes del.icio.us useful and cool is missing (namely all social bookmarking). The features that were added, like IMing of URLs, are perfunctory and solve no problems that copy and paste didn’t already have under control. The interface is clunky, tags are an afterthought, and neither are well thought out. The whole exercise makes me wonder why Yahoo! didn’t just opt to sand the rough edges of del.icio.us rather than starting anew.

New Final Conclusion: Yahoo! Bookmarks looks good, but isn’t very useful to me. Del.icio.us is way more useful and while the interface is clunky there the social bookmarking aspects are what I use it for. I stick to my assertion that some parts of the Bookmarks interface are clunky and that tagging can be integrated better. Hopefully some work can be done on del.icio.us, too, to clean up some of its rough edges.

{ 2 comments }

Tom Chi October 27, 2006 at 11:01 AM

Hey there, if you’re actually interested in the strategy behind all this, read the comment here:

http://digg.com/tech_news/Yahoo_Bookmarks_Enters_21st_Century#c3573294

Bob October 27, 2006 at 11:07 AM

Tom, thank you. I’ll update my comments above with that URL.

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