LookSmart and Diigo, a popular web annotation and research tool, announced a new partnership today. Under the terms of this partnership, LookSmart will transfer Furl, its struggling social bookmarking service, to Diigo. However, while Diigo announced this as an acquisition of Furl, the reality is that Looksmart is getting an equity position in Diigo in return.Search advertising network
LookSmart Shifts Focus
LookSmart acquired Furl in September 2004. At the time, the company announced that it wanted to leverage the data it gathered about users' online behavior through Furl in order to create better search algorithms for web search. Over time, however LookSmart has withdrawn from improving search and the company sold off its FindArticles search engine to CNET in late 2007. Given that Furl is not part of LookSmart's core business anymore, it only makes sense for the company to offload responsibility for the service. We can't help but wonder if LookSmart actually tried to sell Furl but, given the current economic climate, wasn't able to find a partner that wanted to acquire the service directly.
A Good Fit for Diigo
Diigo looks like a good fit for Furl, as it also provides social bookmarking services at the core of its product. Furl at one point looked like it had a bright future ahead of it, but it never really took off. In February 2008, Furl launched a major redesign of its site, which included interesting new features like cached-copy archiving, export in bibliographic formats, and recommendations. According to Diigo, Furl has about one million users - though, as usual, it is hard to say how many of these are active users.
It is not clear how (or if) Diigo will integrate Furl into its own product, but in the announcement, Diigo stresses that it will release version 4.0 of its service soon. Whether this will already feature some integration of Furl's features remains to be seen. For now, Diigo has released a tool that allows Furl users to easily transfer their bookmarks over to Diigo.