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features /  column
editor content by: editor
popurls.com
webslinky: directories
This week, get hyper.

Hyperlinks: they make the Webslinky world go round. I expect you're like me and think of hyperlinks as little paper streamers that fly out of your monitor and down your trousers. And if that's the case, and my trousers were a browser's bookmarks folder, they'd be very nearly at bursting point.

With the World Wide Web relentlessly expanding, it's getting increasingly hard to find good things and then keep track of them. But don't worry, various gratuitously hip solutions are to hand.

Before search engines became advanced enough to deliver reliable results, hand-constructed directories like Yahoo! were the place to find things. You can still visit Yahoo!'s Directory today, though it's no longer the focus of the portal like it once was.

But the hand-picked link directory is making something of a comeback, riding the current wave of Web-based 'social software'. And two of the biggest daddies strutting down the beach are Furl and del.icio.us (recently acquired by Yahoo!).

Which is better is largely down to personal taste, as the services they offer (storing and sharing bookmarks using keywords, like you might for photos on Flickr) are very similar, though del.icio.us is my favourite due to its ease of use and surprising flexibility.

Social bookmarking isn't just a good way to retrieve links you've stored or browse a particular topic, though: it's also very useful for discovering entirely new things. Visit Digg's Spy page, for example, and watch as people add to the content recommendation service in realtime.

Or you could turn to good old-fashioned blogs, like perennial favourites Boing Boing (“a directory of wonderful things”) and MetaFilter (a community-driven weblog). Hell, you could even skip that and use Technorati to find out what all bloggers are talking about at once.

With all this amalgamation going on, you'd almost want someone to amalgamate all of those linky sites together too. And guess what? Someone has. It's called Popurls and it's a useful snapshot of what's hot and new on the web, although admittedly from a slightly nerdy perspective. But then that's the best perspective, isn't it?


David Thair 07 September 06
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