I set up a del.icio.us account for several reasons. Maybe it was to get in on all this Web 2.0 hype, and maybe it was out of actual necessity. Let’s call it a combination of factors. So, as I’m setting up a Firefox extension to make it easier to manage my new account, I’m confronted with the dreaded EULA, and as I read, the annoying feeling that too much of my life is tied into media behemoths like Yahoo, MSN, Google, what have you, creeps up on me1. So it doesn’t hurt to go out and look for alternatives to the biggies. I know; for every altruistic spirit in the technology sphere struggling to find a way to reconcile commerce with principle, there’s a corporate takeover squad with buckets of cash, just waiting for the word from on high to “Buy ’em out, boys!”. But it’s nice to know there are alternatives that allow us to be involved in trends in the greater society without selling our souls (and email addresses). Which brings me to one such alternative. I just read an interview with the creator and (so far) independent financier of Simpy, which might be the only major competition to del.icio.us. I’m trying out some Simpy bookmark extensions for Firefox, exploring the site, and comparing the various features and usability issues to those of Yahoo’s del.icio.us. As with many projects created by geniuses with several itches to scratch, Simpy could be described as either ‘powerful’, or just a little bit less straightforward to a new user than its major competitor. But if it’s worth doing better, it should probably not just be the same old familiar thing. And Simpy is indeed very well thought out. We’re not talking about a paradigm shift here, just a few minor differences that could be confusing for anyone starting out, regardless of tech background. So far, I’m enjoying social bookmarking and hope to incorporate it further into my research and writing. At the very least, it’s nice to just have a place to stick links and notes when jumping between machines. If there’s a particular feature of one of the services I want to try, I can easily import and export my info to and from Simpy, which is reassuring. Next I’ll be fooling around with RSS and blog integration features.
1The sneaky wording that set off bells in this case was: By posting content, you are granting permission to us and others to access and use it in connection with the Services, the Site and otherwise in connection with our business (my underlining). The simple, vague our business can mean any of the myriad companies they gobble up, or really just any entity they do business with, including marketers, advertisers, governments, who knows?
UPDATE: Turns out simpy is partnering with google adwords somehow. I wonder if that was the big San Francisco company the founder mentions in the interview.