Spurl

Sometimes I hate Kuro5hin.org, sometimes I love it. An article was about to get dumped from the edit queue (K5 is a user contributed news community) when I happened upon it. spurl.net/ has created a tool that is exactly what I’ve been looking for as a hardcore net junkie. You could say it’s an advanced bookmarking service, but in reality it will hopefully also be an archiver of the internet if it ever takes off. It’s really funny because I’ve been contemplating developing a tool that is spookily similar to what spurl is all about. I’m definately going to have to get in touch with this guy and see if any of my ideas would help his idea out. Anyways, go to the site, sign up and start spurling.
Yeah ok, I know nobody is going to go but hey, you never know. If his project takes off it’ll only boost my ego for having thought along the same lines. At the very least it would be very interesting to see what everyone else is reading.

22 thoughts on “Spurl”

  1. Well, I did check it out! I am a long time collector of news pieces (save them in a folder) until I need and/or use them…….I have folders full of various image types..not to mention my FTP file at Blogspot………..some times I don’t see the forest for the trees……….and my current
    ‘storage’ system has a lot of trees! Is this the same? Or am I missing something?

  2. Well the beauty of this tool is that it shares the links you think are significant. Also, it’ll create an archive of what pages you’ve visited so people can see what you’re been surfing. Have a go, use it to archive important links. You have a duty as a surfer! 🙂

  3. Nice post. Discussions like this one are most useful for me to continue to develop Spurl.net.
    Chef: I had given tools like you mention some thought, but I thought users would not like an application that “watched over your shoulder” (like the concerns from oldcatman). And as I thought more about it I came to the conclusion stated in the Spurl.net philosophy: “The conscious effort to mark something is important, as only a part of the abundance of information we consume is worth being able to track later on. The marked information thereby becomes a record of the [information] consumption that the user rates as important or somehow significant.”

  4. “Best” is pretty much impossible to say–and which to choose is even more difficult if you want to pick -just- one. While they all have similarities, their focusses are each unique. I have not really had any experience with memestreams, but have experimented with the others Wally mentioned.
    Personally, I use Spurl and StumbleUpon on a constant basis — so I know them best and am a bit biased.
    del.icio.us is something you just have to try to understand, I think–you mark the pages you like and categorize them–the categories are manually typed in and you can enter as many for an item as possible. You can browse other user’s pages and see what they are browsing and may subscribe to any of their individual categories–thereafter watching what they are surfing. It’s simplistic but powerful.
    Furl is much like Spurl in its bookmarklet orientation–both allow you to categorize your items and even archive stories. At first glance, Furl appears to be a futher-along version of Spurl, but there are some subtle differences that make choosing one over the other a matter of personal taste. Basically, Furl focusses on online bookmark management while Spurl focusses on information collecting and (big plus) syndication. Spurl’s weaknesses when compared to Furl are primarily little things that will be fixed in the future, I’m sure–like Spurl’s inability to rename or delete categories. One thing Spurl has that really stands out is its syndication options. Everything, I mean every thing, can be syndicated–categories, search results, with or without language filters applied . . . No one else, that I’ve seen, offers more syndication options.
    StumbleUpon is . . . a horse of a different breed. Unlike the others, it is operated via toolbar (IE or mozilla based platforms). While it does keep track of the websites you’ve commented on and/or rated, it is not focussed on bookmarks or information archival. Instead, its primary purpose is to serve you new web content that you’ll appreciate — the other services names seem to imply that they are oriented around your input; StumbleUpon’s implies that it is primarily about serving you–and so it is. It also has a bunch of other features encouraging interaction among the users. I suspect that of all the mentioned services, memestreams is most like StumbleUpon in focus/delivery. But I don’t know.
    StumbleUpon was the first of these services that I used, and still use it — it’s good for finding new websites. You like/dislike something, you indicate as much via the thumbs up/down rating system and based on that data as well as your friends list, pressing the Stumble button takes you to a new website that, hopefully, is to your taste. Of all the services, StumbleUpon’s is the most suitable for finding new websites. Spurl is good for news/articles. Furl, at least in the past, hasn’t focussed on that at all (I believe they were/have implemented a recommendation system) and del.icio.us is less “random” in its site serving–with del. you go looking around the site/categories for data.
    I’ve typed too much and my son is crying so, . . . I’ll stop for now 🙂

  5. Alan,
    I’m a bit confused in your portrayal of Furl as limited to “online bookmark management”. Furl has been based around the abilty to archive copies of pages, search across them, and syndicate those links (through email, RSS, and site integration) for many months. Perhaps that is not made clear enough on the site (something we will remedy). There is also a helpful IE toolbar if you so desire. Would love to discuss your needs/opinions further if you care to drop me a line.

  6. It would be extremely nice if all of these content aggregators could develop a standard backend upon which to share the data. The interface and the parsing is what they’d provide but the information is common to all.

  7. Mike–I aimed to be brief and was quite general, and no doubt left a lot out. My son doesn’t let me sleep, so my thoughts are scattered. I’ll quickly touch on a few points, though . . .
    I am aware of Furl’s ability to archive pages–it has, indeed, been doing it longer than Spurl. Does it have a file size limit for archiving? I know Spurl has a limit on the size of a page (I’ve run into it a few times). I’d meant to mention the similarities between the two services on that point but . . . didn’t, I guess.
    As for syndication, I am aware of Furl’s capabilities. StumbleUpon also has some. The latter is merely a simplistic RSS feed. Furls are superior to that by far, but Spurl seems to have the most powerful/flexible syndication options. . . more later. I might just contact you directly, Mike–but with my wife in the hospital and the boy screaming, I’ve got to sign off–again.

  8. Interesting conversation,
    Mike: What’s your take on sharing data? It should not be too hard to implement.
    Personally I’m all for openness and would embrace any such effort. We don’t want to run into the same situation as for example the Social Networking services, where the value of the concept (which is great) is diminished by the diversity of the systems and the lack of interoperability. I wrote something on that specific problem here.

  9. I, as an enduser, am enthusiastic about the idea . . . If it all started to come together/work together, it really could be the next big thing–easily — connecting the web fractals into an actual interconnected web. Big enough, saturated enough–searching such a service could be notably more reliable than your typical engine.

  10. As one who’s blog is satire about what is going on in the world, such a source might be of interest
    to me…using IT I might have a ‘single’ source for material to write about but then does IT become
    just another search engine within search engines? Who controls what is contributed is a good point. Invision this: I go looking for the latest on the Kerry–Bush campaigns–I get inundated
    with everybody’s slants on either campaign–BORING! (Just like these various blogs are becoming!)
    Google’s engine helps me in that I can look for a ‘subject’ web site or a ‘subject’ image only–perhaps more designated categories within search engines is needed? Oops….but then do we have a problem with who designates the categories? Keeping on thinkin’….

  11. Largely inspired by your discussions above, I’ve integrated Spurl.net with del.icio.us and made an API that other developers can use to integrate with Spurl.
    See this post for further information.

  12. It is always inspiring to see the net (and more specifically in this case, a blog) used as a forum for collaboration.
    Sharing data (and post integration) will strengthen all the communities involved.
    These tools are driven by the distributed intellect of the wired world.
    These tools provide a new framework for net-based exploration, classification and value assignment; a proto-noosphere. 🙂
    I am now using the Spurl/del.icio.us integration and look forward to similar developments.

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