Monday, October 31, 2005


Michael Arrington summarized the new features in "Wow! rolls out more stuff" on TechCrunch .

The Search Engine, now available to non-delicious users as well, puts delicious on par with Furl (a Looksmart company), Wink, and others who are leveraging tagging to create a better general purpose search engine.

Does anyone know if Google are already leveraging tags from the various tagging services directly in their PageRank algorithm?

David Weinberger posted an interesting summary of two sessions that Joshua Schachter of gave at the Berkman Center @ Harvard a few days ago. I find the summary of the first session particularly interesting:

Currently at delicious: 5M links, about 10M posts, on average about two tags per item. About 500,000 unique tags. Growth in tags is slow.
500,000 unique tags... that's a good number to take into account when designing tagging systems or application that leverage information from tagging services.

My personal favorite:
Q: Why "tags" instead of "keywords" in coming up with the terminology?

A: It was inadvertently clever. I wish I could say I did it intentionally. Typically, when keywords are used, you don't see a list of the aggregated keywords. Maybe it is a slightly new thing.
... and so the revolution has begun, with tags, tag clouds, tag bundles, meta-tags, taggers, ... and has turned the tag "tagging" into one of the most used tags :)

Oh yeah. Joshua also got hold of So maybe people will actually be able to find delicious :)


Sunday, October 30, 2005


You. Yes you, the one reading this blog.

A study by Advertising Age [requires registration first. isn't the deep web wonderful), finds that

"About 35 million workers -- one in four people in the labor force -- visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them"
Some more stats:

  • "Work time spent reading and posting to blogs this year will consume 2.2% of U.S. labor force hours.
  • Work time spent at blogs unrelated to work will eat up 1.65% of labor force hours.
  • U.S. workers this year will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years (based on a 24-hour day) or 2.3 million work years (based on a typical nearly 40-hour work week) reading blogs unrelated to the job."

The article ends with an interesting extrapolation:
Technorati, a blog search engine, now tracks 19.6 million blogs, a number that has doubled about every five months for the past three years. If that growth were to continue, all 6.7 billion people on the planet will have a blog by April 2009. Imagine the work that wonÂ’t get done then.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Social social tagging site tagging

Here is a much better way to maintain an up-to-date Tag-o-verse. - the best thing since tagged bread.

It's a "social social tagging site tagging". site :)

From their About page:

With so many places to tag so many things, how could one person keep track of it all?

Which just proves the old proverb - build a better mouse trap, and someone will build a meta-mouse.


Tag-o-verse 2.0

Time to update my more-than-a-month-old (*gasp*) Tag-o-verse list, with some new entries and with more accurate classification.


Web Clips



Academic Papers:


Consumer Products








  • Ning
  • Create your own social application; lots of long tail-type tagging applications.

  • Where are you
    Generates a neighbourhood-specific tag, which you use to tag stuff related to this neighbourhood in delcious, flickr, etc.

  • Google Base
    Mega-tag-everything thingie. more...



Thursday, October 27, 2005

The new Yahoo! Travel

Yahoo introduced yesterday a new service, allowing users a way to share itineraries, photos, and travel trips. It's integrated with Flickr (which is also owned by Yahoo).

This follows Yahoo's introduction of My Web 2.0 a short time ago.

Among the big 4, Yahoo seems to be the one who really got it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Google Base

If you were to design the World Wide Web all over again, what would you do?

I know what I would do. Every piece of information would be first based on structured data and only then transformed to a visual representation of the data (read: XML and XSL). Every piece of structured data would be tagged with meta information, indicating semantics beyond the trivial ones found directly in the data. Tags used in the metadata would also be structured.

And we would make it real easy for anyone to post their little pieces of value - content, goods, services - in a structured, metadata rich manner. And... we would make it easy for them to get compensated for the value that they provide, if they wish so.

No lost bits and broken links. A central system to track all these little pieces.

What a fine online world this would make. And imagine, how much easier it would be for a search engine to locate information in such a world, where instead of scanning meaningless HTML blurbs, it would instead be able to access structured, tagged and semantics-rich data.

Tim Berners-Lee's Semantic Web is one attempt to solve this. So far it didn't really work out.

Enter Google Base. Clicking on the link won't do much good, since it's already offline. It was online for a few hours only, just enough to generate lots of buzz and now-rare screen captures. Gotta love the Google PR machine.

Google Base is Google's database into which you can add all types of content. WeÂ’ll host your content and make it searchable online for free.

What can you put in the database? Some examples from Google docs:

  • Description of your party planning service
  • Articles on current events from your website
  • Listing of your used car for sale
  • Database of protein structures
Blogosphere-meet-eBay-meet-Ning-meet-My Web 2.0-meet-Flickr-meet...…

Read more about it, enjoy the hype at its height, and invent your own speculations:

Note: I didn't say Web 2.0 even once :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Off topic - POSTSECRET

Hey, it's my blog. I can be off topic if I want to.


People mail-in postcards with their secrets:

Each secret can be a regret, hope, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation.

Sometimes funny, sometimes touching.

This isn't a Web 2.0 thingie, right?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Laundry on the fly

Laundry on the fly
Laundry on the fly,
originally uploaded by YanivG.
It's been a while since I posted a Flickr-thingie here. So, here is one :)

Joel on Web 2.0

I've been reading Joel Spolsky's stuff (Joel on Software and the various books) for years. He always makes me re-think stuff. Smart, sometimes provocative, and always with two feet firmly on the software development ground.

Joel just published a new post, with a slightly different angle on tagging, folksonomies, syndication, long tails and Web 2.0.

He took a pledge never again to use the term "Web 2.0" on his blog, or to link to any article that mentions it. Fortunatly, the pledge is uni-directional :)


I've added Feedburner-powered Feeds, instead of the default Blogger Atom-only feed.

Feedburner is a good idea. This whole RSS 1 / RSS 2 / Atom thing is pretty ridiculous.

I also like Flock's automatic detection of pages which provide feed - a Feed button appears on the address line automagically.

So, if you're using a feed to read this, consider deleting the old feed and subscribing to the new one:

Friday, October 21, 2005


I am posting this using Flock's blogging tool. Flock is a new Mozilla-based browser that integrates "Web 2.0"-functionality directly into its user interface. I love the idea. I've been ranting offline and online about this for a while - I love the ability to switch from this dreadful traditional Hierarchical Favorites into the wonderful world of Tagged Favorites, which is a much better fit for the way that I personally think and organize stuff (hint: I don't). But I hate having to do it using Bookmarklets (at best)-based user interfaces, which are clunky, slow, and force me to lose context whenever I want to interact with the tagging subsystem.

They integrate directly with, Flickr, and several blogging sites (they're planning a plug-in interface, which will allow integration with the other tagging, blogging and sharing out there).

Before Flock, the only one that seemed to get this was Outfoxed, which still seems to have the slickest, most streamlined user interface for this. I like their "Green Thumbup / Red Thumbdown" approach. There is something to be said for simplicity. But Flock is attacking the bigger problem.

So, at least for the next few days, I will be giving iexplorer.exe some well deserved rest and will be trying Flock instead.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tagging UI

Well, Yahoo! recently introduced a beta version of their own social-bookmarking-tagging-sharing thingie - My Web 2.0 (a revamped version of the original My Web service introduced in April).

Yes, it tags. Tags are comma-separated, non-hierarchical.

Does this settle the argument?

Well, a Yahoo!-branded social-bookmarking-tagging-sharing thingie may settle more than one argument... might save a lot of time in those VC weekly investment committee meetings...

Does it all really matter? Danny Sullivan did a fascinating post on tagging and why it sucks. Some excerpts:

"Yahoo talked to me this week about how 70 percent of all items on Flickr are tagged, but then it immediately qualified without prompting that because Flickr is a photo service, tagging is much more essential."

"...But what happens when you've created hundreds of tags for thousands of pages? Are you going to browse pages? Everyone largely abandoned browsing directory categories ages ago because keyword search was like a warp drive to zip you to what you wanted..."

Good stuff.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Web 2.0 of course

Amazing… even HOTorNOT has an API. Web 2.0 will be interesting :)

A not-yet-comprehensive list of "Web 2.0 APIs" (yippy! A new buzzword to play with :) is published at programmableweb.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

David Weinberger on "why tagging matters"

Dates back to Feb 2005 (*gasp*), but still worth reading.

I guess it all boils down to the following:

A. We get individual value from tagging.
B. No one is telling us to do it or how to do it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

a horse where horses ain't suppose to be

here is a wonderful example of deleteme at its best...


As the usage of tags increases, we see more and more "applitags" (there I go again…) – tags that have a specific applicative meaning. Sometimes there is an actual application generating and / or consuming them (e.g. geotagging), or there is an application whose logic is run, at least as of now, by people – manually.

An example of the second kind of applitags is the Deleteme and the 1-5-favorites groups in Flickr. In both, there are guidelines instructing users which specific tags to add or remove under what conditions, and what actions to take as a result. Users actually follow these (somewhat complex) guidelines, since they are essential for maintaining the goal of the groups.

Usage and definition of applitags is somewhat of a wild west thing at the moment. Rules are defined ad-hoc, and are implemented by the users themselves – manually.

It would be good to standardize the format of these tags, to differentiate them from the free-association user tags, in order to reduce the chance of a user changing these tags and breaking a future application that is leveraging these tags.

Here is a proposed definition for applitags:

Applitags are tags whose spelling and semantics are agreed on between a group of users, or between users and a producing or consuming application.

Generic format for applitags:



x:geo.geotagged 31.70
x:geo.lon= 35.20


The purpose of the "x:" is to distinguish applitags from normal users tags, to hint to users (and later, to tag editing applications) that these tags should not be modified without knowing the rules governing them (or better yet, outside an application designed to product them).

There are different types of applitags, but more on that later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Minimal is good

originally uploaded by shoegazer.
More from flickr. Minimal is good. Very minimal is very good.

Hierarchical Tags

RawSugar are bravely attempting to put some order in the tagging chaos using hierarchical tags. This goes back to my post about that need to structure this tagged chaos into something that makes more sense for us engineer types. But it doesn't feel right. The magic in tagging partially lies in the simplicty of rapidly typing away these tags, freeing you from "post activation analysis paralysis".

Putting hierarchy back into the system puts us more or less where we started. Is Humus categorized under "Food", "Israeli Culture Basics" or "Highly Explosive Materials"? I don't know, and I don't want to think about it.

I think that the Flickr clustering feature, in a way, attempts to solve the same problem but from a different angle, one that in my opinion is better aligned with the tagging spirit. While the solution is very different, the result in some cases is the same - tags grouped together in a loosly defined zero-semanthics and yet useful group.

Can the clustering logic be made more useful (e.g. create clusters that make more sense for us humans)? I believe that the answer is a clear yes. And I might take a shot at proving it :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

tagging conventions - more rants

I just spent entire 5 minutes of my life trying to figure out why RawSugar was issuing error messages ("illegal character") while I was trying to add a new URL to it. Only then did I notice that I am using the flickr tagging convention (space seperated, "multi word tags"), instead of the RawSuggar convention (comma seperated, it's-always-a-mutag).

Oh well.

Standards Are A Good Thing.