File Under: Software & Tools

Revamped Delicious Turns to Twitter for Real-Time Search

Delicious has debuted a redesigned home page with a new ranking system that uses Twitter, along with Delicious’ own data, to show a list of the most popular links on the web. These results show up in a new “What’s Fresh” tab, which makes up the default view on the site’s home page. In addition, Delicious’ search tools have been revamped and the site’s users can now e-mail and tweet bookmarks directly from Delicious.

Delicious cut its teeth as a social-bookmarking service where people could store and share links to interesting web pages. It was among the first of its kind, and it was also one of the first sites to bring tagging into wide use. Yahoo purchased Delicious in 2005 and left it largely untouched.

But the new “What’s Fresh” page, introduced Tuesday, not only brings a new ranking system to the site, it also includes related tweets to create a more de-centralized ranking system that Yahoo believes will more accurately reflect what’s happening on the real-time web.

The roots of the new search tools lie in Vik Singh’s TweetNews experiment, which, when it first launched, we said “might well be the best mashup we’ve ever seen.” Of course Twitter’s own search tools have improved significantly since then, but TweetNews still offers considerably more authoritative news links, (Vik Singh is currently Yahoo’s lead architect for Delicious).

Unfortunately, applying the TweetNews model to Delicious doesn’t yield quite the same sort of power. The problem is that the new tools and integrated Twitter messages, while interesting, emphasize Delicious as a sharing tool rather than a bookmark storage tool.

While Delicious has always offered ways of sharing your bookmarks, in our experience the majority of users look on Delicious more as a personal storage tool than a sharing service. This is perhaps part of the reason that Delicious’ most popular bookmarks section has always skewed toward web design and programming tutorial links.

Which isn’t to say the new “What’s Fresh” tab isn’t useful. It’s just that for at least some of us, it’s positioning Delicious in a totally different way. Whether or not web users hungry for real-time news will turn to a place best known as a bookmarks repository remains to be seen.

It will also be interesting to see how Delicious users react to the shift and newfound emphasis on sharing. Delicious founder Joshua Schachter, who departed Yahoo in 2008 and now works at Google, was quick to point out that “sharing != saving.” It’s worth noting, though, that Schachter goes on to say that he “likes the new search a great deal.”

Indeed the improved search tool is much more useful than in its previous incarnation. And for those who hate the new “What’s Fresh” tab, keep in mind that the old “Popular Bookmarks” tab is still there with the same list of popular links it’s always had.

Also interesting is that Yahoo chose to leveraging its BOSS search tools to build to new Delicious search tools. BOSS undeniably has a very nice search filter API, but with Microsoft’s Bing search technology set to slowly replace Yahoo’s own search engines, BOSS’ future is far from clear.

So where does that leave Delicious’ new search and Twitter integration? For the time being at least, it means that Delicious is another potential source of “real-time” data that you can use to see what the internet is buzzing about.

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