Nice piece in the NYT today, in Circuits no less, about finding stuff you’ve seen online before. The author speaks to researchers working on the cluttered and useless Bookmarks feature found in most browsers. (One researcher compares Bookmarks to a messy closet no one wants to open). Researchers found that “some people try to keep track of Web sites by sending themselves an e-mail message with the link and a note of why it might be useful. Others print pages or use sticky notes. Some people, the researchers found, make no attempt to save a page, counting on being able to find it again with a search engine.” Sound familiar?
The article references the MSFT Research project called Stuff I’ve Seen, which automatically watches sites you’ve been to and recalls them based on keyword searches, regardless of whether you bookmarked it. A good idea, I think. MSFT says it is considering adding it to Longhorn, but will probably not break it out as a separate utility.
PS – Dave Winer points to a new beat application that addresses this problem: Furl. I like the premise: Furl is a new web browsing tool that lets you save and organize thousands of useful web pages (you know, the ones you want to save for future reference but then can never find again) in a personal “web page filing cabinet”.
Once saved, you can effortlessly find any page again later using a powerful full text search tool. With Furl you can forget trying to save and organize dozens of bookmarks, forget saving web pages to your desktop, in fact forget everything except how to find a useful web page again next time you need it.