Delicious is regarded by many as one of the foundational web applications of the current era. Acquired by Yahoo five years ago and now nearly squandered to death, Delicious showed the world how personal utility in the cloud (bookmarking online instead of in your browser) could create a network effect of value - most visibly, in the form of the Delicious Popular page. Now the founder of Delicious and a powerful team is working on a new project they say is "putting the useful back into social software. "Social bookmarking service
Delicious was created by Joshua Schachter, a data nerd with a dry sense of humor. After the acquisition, Schachter left Yahoo for Google, then left Google to create a new startup called Tasty Labs. Schachter is working there with Nick Nguyen, formerly of Yahoo! Answers and Mozilla's add-on platform, and Paul Rademacher, the man who set the web world on fire in 2005 with the first big mashup online, HousingMaps.com (Craigslist + Google Maps). What is this team doing at Tasty Labs? They've been absolutely silent about it, until letting Quentin Hardy at Forbes do a write-up this morning.
Hardy reports that Tasty Labs is building a service that will match the needs of some people with the abilities or assets of others, possibly within corporations and with an emphasis on commenting and reviewing peoples' recommendations.
"Tasty Labs wants to create a marketplace or forum in which people can state their needs and available talents. By employing relationship and ratings algorithms, the idea runs, Tasty Labs can enable people to satisfy needs from 'a good place for a business dinner' to 'a great Perl programmer' or 'figure out schools selection' by getting tips from trusted sources.
Schachter told Hardy that the group hopes to launch something within the next few months. "I may take it across several companies," he said, "the way Facebook rolled out across universities." He said that Tasty Labs may roll out any number of different applications, which could be used in any number of different ways.
This initial idea may not seem stunningly original, but the backgrounds and demonstrated thinking of the founders imply that it's likely to be executed in some very potent ways.
The product as described sounds a little like BagCheck, a quiet new startup founded by former Yahoo leaders Luke Wroblewski, Sam Pullara, and Bryan Lamkin, and Adam Rifkin of KnowNow. That service is live now and lets people create lists of things.
Schachter's Tasty Labs has raised $3 million in funding from Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. In my discussions with him over the years, about the ways I've gotten a lot of value out of Delicious, he always indicated that he'd have enabled more of the same type of power use if Yahoo had supported it. That makes me all the more excited to see Tasty start releasing product, whatever it might be.