If the headline confuses you: This post is about online bookmarking services – a website to store and manange your bookmarks. So what’s the point of using an online service anyway since your browser already has a (more or less) sophisticated bookmark management?
First: Availability. If you switch to another browser or use another computer to go online, your bookmarks are already there.
Second: Additional features. Most online services allow you to tag your bookmarks, export them in any format, import your bookmarks, check if the sites are still available and more.
Third: Social search. If a service is used by lots of people you can explore similar bookmarks according to your own needs.
Fourth: Popular links. You can discover stuff by looking at bookmarks other people added.
There are lots of bookmarking services online, the most famous one being delicious. I used delicious for quite a while but for the last two years the service degraded. Especially the most striking feature of an online service – discovering what other people bookmarked – got more and more useless since it essentially filled up with spam. So I looked around for an alternative and soon found pinboard.in – a NON-free service. It costs a one-time signup fee (which is calculated according to the number of users – the more early you signup, the cheaper it is). Currently it’s about $6,30.
So why should one use pinboard – if there are free alternatives?
You can mark items as “to read” so you can collect articles, posts, etc. to read later on. And this by simply opening a simple bookmarklet. Very smart.
Import from Twitter
You can automatically import your (or another person’s) twitter links which makes perfect sense for me. All URLs I post to Twitter are usually websites I also want to visit later some time. You can also import your Twitter favorites.
Ease of use
The webinterface is very (very!) clean and minimalist (see below), the bookmarklets work great. Also there are organizing features to handle your bookmakrs.
Most important: Importing all my bookmarks from delicious worked flawlessly. And furthermore pinboard.in uses an API which is compatible to delicious – so lots of tools created for delicious already work with this service.
You can set all your bookmarks (and your newly added ones) to be private by default. This differentiates pinboard.in from other services which are by default open. You can toggle this behaviour in your settings.
The developers are very open to new suggestions and responed very quickly to questions and requests. This is worth a lot IMHO. And new features are being added frequently.
There are some other features I don’t use that much, but are worth mentioning:
- Import URLs from delicious, Instapaper, Google reader and “Read it Later”automatically (as “to read” if you like).
- Post new entries via email from iPhone/Blackberry.
- Save text-only notes.
- Bookmark archiving (costs about $20): Every time you add a bookmark a permanent copy of the website is archived.
My own public bookmark stream can be found here: pinboard.in/u:mariofischer »