There appears to be a considerable amount of uncertainty about the future of Delicious, the web’s preeminent social bookmarking service.
Not sure what social bookmarking is? Here’s a video:
It seems a shame that Yahoo! have been unable to find a way to make a service with plenty of active and dedicated users pay for itself. I know I would pay a few quid a month to keep it going.
Either way, the service will be sold on or shut down in the nearish future. Users are looking for alternatives, with the likelihood being that if everyone leaves, who cares what happens? It’s easy enough to export your data from Delicious, and I would recommend you do it right away.
The two options at the moment seem to be Diigo or Pinboard. The former is much more polished than the latter, so it’s a case of choosing what matters to you. There are other options discussed in this post on SearchEngineLand.
Personally, I use Delicious mainly as a publishing tool – to get the links posts published every so often here on DavePress. Most things that I save to read later go into Evernote.
The potentially more worrying issue here is that Yahoo! also own Flickr, the photo sharing site. Bookmarks and links are one thing, but photos entirely another. I’d always advise users of cloud services to back up your stuff locally just in case something goes wrong – it’s good practice anyway.
That’s fine for those of us who have PCs or laptops at home where you can store media locally. But what of the future of low-cost computing – like the ChromeOS netbooks I wrote about the other day, where the machines themselves have virtually no storage and everything is held on the servers of companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and, er, Yahoo!.
This is one of the implications of cloud culture, where increasingly our cultural artefacts – books, music, films, photos, art – are being stored and curated by tech companies rather than traditional publishers, museums, libraries etc. The medium is also changing of course, from physical objects to digital ones.
The book won’t disappear anytime soon, of course, nor will painting on canvas. But the everyday access and storage of this stuff will be moving online, and we all need to have a proper think about how we deal with that.
More than Delicious or Flickr (which are popular enough to grant protests that may ensue solutions), what worries me is the thought that Yahoo could close down immensely useful but not as popular services, like Pipes or YQL. How likely would that be?
I think the thing that surprised me about the decision to close Delicious is that Yahoo are keeping other services such as Pipes (which, to me, is fundamentally broken at the minute) online. I genuinely hope it’s bought by someone; both myself and my wife use it heavily both for personal and professional bookmarking. I have transferred all my bookmarks over to Diigo, however, and recommend others to do the same. After trying a number of alternatives, it’s the one that’s closest to Delicious in functionality.
At present I don’t have too much concern for the future of Flickr; it’s a revenue source for Yahoo (I know I’m certainly upgrading to a Pro account next payday) which, unfortunately, Delicious is not.
I certainly think there’s a ways to go yet before we can completely rely on the cloud; while I’ve embraced cloud working almost in it’s whole (I do a lot of collaborative writing projects using Google Docs and Adobe Story) I still prefer to work offline primarily and maintain local copies of my data before it touches the cloud.
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