Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Another Social Bookmarking Start-Up? Wince. Wait, These Two Are Actually Interesting.

People have been trying to make social bookmarking cool for freaking ever. Start-up founders keep thinking they can suddenly awaken the universal OCD gene so everyone wants to save and organize Web content. With a few exceptions — Pinterest, say, and maybe Evernote — nobody ever gets close to mainstream.

So as a longtime squinter at Delicious clones, I was surprised this week to see a couple of social bookmarking-type tools that actually seemed quite well-built and distinctive. Will making a product snazzier make it mainstream? Not necessarily. But Clipboard and both caught my jaded eye.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Clipboard’s big trick is that it allows you to easily grab and save snippets of actual Web content. Not just a flat screenshot or a text copy-paste, but the actual HTML, so you can play a video, check out Google Street View or look at a SlideShare presentation. The full things get embedded within users’ collections.

You might think of Clipboard as a personal Internet Archive, where a Web site stays the way it was at the moment you clipped it, for your own personal reference.

Today, Clipboard is launching an iPhone app that extends this function to be native on mobile. Once installed, if you use the iOS copy function in another app, when you open up the Clipboard app, that content will be automatically saved.

Of course, there is more complexity to this, like private, public and shared boards; hashtags and @ mentions, like on Twitter; and browser extensions.

Clipboard launched to the public in May, and it has seed funding from firms like Andreessen Horowitz, so many of you may have heard of it before. But if you’re like me, and develop partial deafness when you hear of yet another social bookmarking app, this one might be worth checking out.

The other site for which I’d use that description is one I saw yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt. Called, it has more of a creative feel than Clipboard. It offers a blank canvas to save all sorts of content, move it around spatially and then create an animation (kind of like Prezi) that helps present it all in an order.

The intent is to help people brainstorm and collaborate, like on a screenplay or a game or a pitch. CEO Mariano Suarez Battan’s pitch: “When you close your eyes, you don’t think in grids and lists.”

Users can work on a page simultaneously through their own browsers, dragging photos, videos and documents around into little clumps to organize their thinking.

You can imagine this would work even better with a touch interface and the ability to draw on the canvas, which are both things Battan said the company is working on.

Buenos Aires-based has backing from Intel Capital, 500 Startups and others. Like Clipboard, the tools are free, and the business model is being left for another day. So, in that respect, they are both just like (almost!) every other social bookmarking site ever.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald