Microsofts Thumbtack

Live Labs, part of the Microsoft Corporation, has announced a new solution for people who want to keep track of all the information they find useful on the web. Thumbtack is similar to social bookmarking, but takes the service to new levels calling it a online research collection tool.

Thumbtack is intended as a repository for all the information you collect as you traverse the web. It covers the basic activities we do as we find information we want to keep track of - archival, research, sharing and publishing.

According to Microsoft, it was developed from public suggestions and input and based on Live Labs release of Listas, a sort of social listing service that allows users to create lists of interesting information from around the web and then share it via a public web site.

That is where the two stop being similar though. Where Listas is essentially a basic social bookmarking site, Thumbtack strives to take things to the next level with the creation of online research compendiums.

Thumbtack at a Glance

With a great looking site and a pleasing user interface, Thumbtack looks pretty slick at first. The site offers the ability to drag and drop bookmarks into various collections.

An AJAX application, Thumbtack uses machine learning and natural language techniques to automatically categorize and organize content. You can edit and tag your bookmarks using a number of different views, as well as share them via email and on a public website.

Check out the features below:

A Gadget Infrastructure

Thumbtack looks like it's intended to be a platform of sorts. Microsoft says it is growing the platform based on gadgets. It will have also have REST APIs and syndication capabilities. Developers who choose to develop Thumbtack gadgets will do so using the Live Labs Web Sandbox.

There are already a number of gadgets available and more planned.

Early Problems with Thumbtack

There does seem to be some problems with the bookmarklet tool. The idea of being able to save a full text version of entire web pages is novel, but does nothing if the bookmarklet tool used to mark them doesn’t work right.

And this is exactly the case with Thumbtack. It has major issues with converting text properly from an entire web page when it encounters either JavaScript or video media in the code. What you end up with a garbled mess of text and code together. You can copy and paste directly into the website, but the bookmarklet will cause you problems.

Microsofts Thumbtack

Thumbtack Public Site

Looks Aren't Everything

Thumbtack has a nice interface that makes the service look good, but it is a far cry from services like Magnolia, Delicious and others.

It's also important to note that although the service does work in both IE and FireFox, not all Thumbtack features are available to FireFox users. This doesn't help Thumbtack's cause at this stage in the game.

Problems with the Thumbtack bookmarklet tool and its lack of social features may make it undesirable for many on the net today.

Have you tried Thumbtack? Is it a service you think you will use extensively? Let us know.