Twine is a bookmarking service with a lot more going on than just storing links. You can still do that with the Twine bookmarklet, but the site itself is where you’ll find the most value.
Behind the scenes, Twine tries to make sense of the items shared with it. Where it can, it adds tags of its own, and categorizes places, people, and organizations as best it can. The attached screenshot is from a bookmark announcing the SXSW conference. The orange links were added by Twine.
Most of what is added to Twine are bookmarks, that is not all it takes. You can attached documents in the web interface or via email. Twine also distinguishes images and videos from standard web links. Lastly, you can create original content with a rich text editor. Twine’s CEO Nova Spivack eats a little of his own dog food by blogging with Twine.
When anything is added to Twine, it defaults to private, unless you choose to share it with one of your twines or a friend who you’ve added as a connection. There is not another way to flip a bookmark from private to public, though that feature is in the works. The current solution is to create a Twine specifically for your public bookmarks.
Nova Spivack shared his vision for Twine with Webmonkey:
“Where other bookmarking tools let you add some tags and description, we’re taking your bookmarks and turning them into a knowledge base… we want to be the smartest tool for social bookmarking.”
Twine is useful at several levels. It is a place to hold bookmarks (you can import from Delicious to get started), a site to share information with others, and a way to discover content. An upcoming version of Twine will have full text indexing of links, though I’d also like to see them add Snipd-like highlighting. Twine will also release an API at the beginning of 2009.
The future of Twine, Spivack said, is part user-facing website and part framework to build on top of. Maybe that’s why they’ve raised nearly $20 million and some have said the company behind Twine could be worth $1 billion. The concepts behind Twine are moving into the Semantic Web, which helps make information equally understandable by machines and humans. Tim Berners-Lee sees that as the future.
Twine is currently in private beta, but Webmonkey has invites for our readers. If you’d like one, you can find my email address in the sidebar.