Home Thumbtack: Microsoft Labs Launches New Bookmarking Service

Thumbtack: Microsoft Labs Launches New Bookmarking Service

Microsoft Labs today releasedThumbtack, a new bookmarking application with a very slick user interface that represents an interesting take on bookmarking and saving online information, though it often falls short on delivering some of the basics that we have come to expect from online bookmarking services.

According to Microsoft, Thumbtack was developed based on user feedback the company received after releasing Listas in 2007. Unlike Listas, however, Thumbtack does not focus on social bookmarking but rather on creating online research collections. Thumbtack supports both IE7 and Firefox, though Firefox users miss out an a few interesting features.

Great Website – Bookmarklet Needs Work

One major disappointment of Thumbtack is its bookmarklet. While its concept of saving a full text copy of a site is great in theory (though not novel), the bookmarklet manages to mangle the text of the page with JavaScript and doesn’t copy videos and images. The bookmarklet expects you to highlight the part of the text you want to save, though even then, you can’t actually scroll through the text in the bookmarklet. One nice features, though, is that can also just copy and paste items into Thumbtack right from your web browser (or any other program, for that matter).

The actual Thumbtack site, however, is quite well designed and allows you to drag and drop items to different collections, edit and tag bookmarks, and share your bookmarks by email and through a public web site.

None of these features are novel, but the interface does make using the site very easy. One cool feature of the site is the ‘gadget’ view, which allows you to quickly plot addresses from all your collections on a map, or to create plots based on data in your bookmarks.

It is important to know, though, that Thumbtack is clearly still an alpha product. Sometimes, for example, the bookmarklet wouldn’t recognize new collections we had created or published collections wouldn’t appear on their respective public websites. That, however, is something we expect in an alpha product and can be easily remedied by Microsoft.

Video: Thumbtack Introduction

Better Alternatives

Earlier this week, we looked at Qitera, which has a feature set that is quite similar to Thumbtack’s, but while Thumbtack has a more interesting user interface, the actual bookmarking and information retrieval through Qitera is far superior to Microsoft’s product. Thumbtack also lacks any of the social bookmarking aspects that make Twine, Delicious, or Qitera interesting. Not everybody, of course, is interested in sharing bookmarks, and for those users, Thumbtack is definitely worth trying, though currently, we would recommend Qitera, Delicious, or Ma.gnolia, or the Google Notebook, over Thumbtack.

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