In my post (here), I wrote up on blogging and how its taken everything around it by storm. However, there is one more thing that is quickly catching up as the next best way of organising information, and locating them quickly. Yes, its the entirely new, yet most intuitive concept of tagging. In a brief post (here), I managed to write up a little on it, but now I will try and unravel where this is going.Bookmarking, as far as I know, first received mainstream exposure thanks to del.icio.us, which uses a very easy interface and a very powerful API to allow anyone and everyone to fully exploit the system and use it anyway they want. It allows the end-user to bookmark anything, and put a link to it in their accounts at del.icio.us, so that they can be accessed seen and gained from by everyone in the world. also, this is a good way to allow your set of bookmarks to be available to you no matter where you are. ofcourse, this was the initial intention of del.icio.us. however, there are infinite possibilities of the applications of this simple idea, what with tagging and feeds available from del.icio.us on virtually everything.
Yes! As far as I think, tagging and categorisation is the next big thing which is going to become a household name and everybody will be utilising it in their own lives. A perfect example of what a creative use of tagging can achieve is demonstrated is by the freshtags. originally cooked up by Gregory Hill, freshtags aims to fill up and remove the blogger handicap of tags and categories. It allows individual posts to be tagged at del.icio.us with keywords which the author thinks are most relevant to the post, and by using JSON feeds, can be accessed and displayed on the users page itself. Voila! The most effective way of implementing categories!However, del.icio.us is not the only major player in the market. Infact, del.icio.us, which is now under Yahoo!, is part of a myriad of small scale and upcoming tagging and bookmarking services. However, it'll take something novel and some smart thinking to be able to seperate del.icio.us from the ridiculously huge user-base that it has managed to create for itself. Another service, also under Yahoo!, is flickr. Flickr is to images what del.icio.us is to text based content. You can upload, tag, bookmark and share your pictures using flickr which is very intuitive and easy, hence making it easy for anyone who is willing to start with this new approach to sharing data.
These two are the biggest players in an area which is yet to be touched by Google, but Yahoo! has seen the potential it offers and jumped on to the bandwagon in a big way. Today, there are bookmarking services which allow Google Adsense to be added to the pages which list their tags, hence offering revenue opportunities to people who want to publicize there tags. Wink has found a novel way of judging the popularity of a certain page by the number of tags that link to that page. A quote from Technology Evangelist says:
Malik shapes Wink's model and similar sites as being part of a "people vs. Google" movement, where a networks of people attempt to out-do Google Search by using votes, bookmarks, or other human behavior rather than a faceless algorithm. Malik expresses his pessimism about the potential for this type of ranking system based on the lack of mainstream interest in social bookmarking and tagging. However, this really isn't - or shouldn't be - a mutually exclusive strategy for ranking content. For example, a site like Wink would be worthless if it ONLY displayed content that has been bookmarked. People would reach dead ends or marginal results most of the time if Wink didn't supplement their search results with results from . . . Google.
And its true. Somewhere down the line, all these new features and services are in a bid to slowly and steadily reduce Google's monopoly over the internet and its applications. But no matter what, only good can come out of this new concept, which will help organise the Internet, so that it can truly be used by people who might not be that technically sound. Today, if you want information on certain topics, a Technorati or a del.icio.us tag search will reveal all the information that you might need. If they don't, you always have sites like Google and Wikipedia to fall back on. But the former method should be good enough.
This will gain steam and improve as more and more people incorporate tagging as one of their regular browsing habits, hence revealing pages that neither human nor Google could knew existed which might contain tons of untapped information. Do your bit, begin bookmarking today! You'll reap the results soon. Kind of like a 'plant a tree' movement. Only, with information!