Just bookmarks? It’s all gone Wong…

wong logo

A few weeks ago I got an invitation to take a look at a preview for a new social bookmarking site called Mister Wong.

I’m a busy person and frankly I’m now tending towards the view that I don’t have time to play with every single one of these new sites. Currently I have Spock, gleamd and others in my “to look at” list. As a result, I received the invitation to Mister Wong a little while ago, and only just got around to playing with it.

So, social bookmarking. Been around a while, with del.icio.us and ma.gnolia leading the charge. IBM has Dogear, which we’ve now integrated and offer to other organisations as part of Lotus Connections (sales pitch over). Why would another company launch in this space?

It turns out that Mister Wong has been available in Germany for a while but they are now launching internationally. I’ve been using the preview version, but I think they are going live to everyone shortly.

My initial reaction was, why bother? I’m not the most prodigious user of del.icio.us, although I’m gradually improving my habits, mainly to avoid keeping literally hundreds (ok, well, 150) of tabs open in Firefox for weeks at a time.

The first step was to export bookmarks from somewhere else. Mister Wong accepts an export file from del.icio.us or a browser (IE, Firefox or Safari). That worked fine, and retained all of the tag, date, and other information.

So again, why bother? Well, Mister Wong has a couple of features that del.icio.us doesn’t have:

  • Groups, enabling people with similar interests to share links. This is probably the killer value-add over del.icio.us, although whether or not it is enough to swing participation across to a new service is questionable. It does put an emphasis on social behaviour, and I do think that is a key aspect of the social bookmarking concept.
  • Preview images (I’m sure there are Greasemonkey extensions that can add these to del.icio.us, and I know ma.gnolia has them already)
  • A selection of plugins, tools and widgets. There is quite a range, including one for the Mac dashboard, one for the iPhone, another one for other mobile devices, and another for WordPress. OK, so del.icio.us does have some of these kinds of things already, but the range on offer on Mister Wong at launch is pretty impressive… no Facebook integration yet, although I did suggest it to the developers.

I’ve made a number of comments to the developers about possible issues or changes they might like to make:

  • The name is a bit strange… unfortunately the range of icons (favicon, Firefox toolbar icon) might actually be considered offensive to some users since they draw on ethnic stereotypes. On the other hand they might just be a bit of fun. You decide! [edit 31st July] The CEO has written a post about this on the Mister Wong Blog.
  • No Atom feeds at present, only RSS. Given that Atom was declared “done” last week, I would have expected a new service like this to offer Atom as well as RSS. Heck, they could even offer Atom Publishing Protocol support πŸ™‚
  • As of today, the bookmarklet and Firefox toolbar option to tag a page takes the user to the Mister Wong site, rather than popping up a window. The developers tell me this is going to change when it goes live to a wider audience. It’s annoying as it stands.
  • [edit 31st July] I just discovered that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to import bookmarks into a group, but I may be wrong about that. Currently I have to edit each individual bookmark and add to a group.
  • [edit 31st July] There appears to be a limit to the number of tags per bookmark – 12. MW preserved all the tags on my imported bookmarks, but attempting to edit and re-save them later, I see an error message about having too many tags. That’s plain annoying, and hopefully a limit that the developers can change.

Overall then, it really is hard to see why I’d move from del.icio.us – it’s where all my friends are – but I certainly had no issues in casual usage of Mister Wong, it looks nice, and I guess I wish them luck… it could be quite an uphill struggle, but if they make the most of their differentiation from del.icio.us and make enhancements as they go, the site could be successful.

Additional coverage:

Mister Wong launches Social Bookmarking Tool in US

Social bookmarking the way it was meant to be

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6 responses to “Just bookmarks? It’s all gone Wong…

  1. Lots of good info. Thanks for the review. I’m curious to look at the site too.

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  2. Good review, Andy. But I can not agree with you on the last point, the one that you can’t see why migrate from del.icio.us. However hard I try using del.icio.us I still can not get myself out of feeling the place is too lonely, you can feel no actual communication behind the scenes. And for example I am already accustomed to having all things social. And since MW is definitely better than the del.icio.us in social features I think there might be users to migrate. I for one will πŸ™‚

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  3. Hi Mike, Svetlana, and thanks for your comments. Welcome to my blog πŸ™‚

    Mike, I sent you an invitation. I believe that anyone can enter their email address on the front page and get an invite, too. I heard that it will be opened up to everyone within the next few days.

    Svetlana, that’s an excellent perspective. I do use the by: and via: and for: tags on del.icio.us to pass links around my network, and it works well. I guess for me, it will depend on how many other people start to connect with me and make Mister Wong a good place to be. I also find the current bookmarking window very inconvenient – because it is NOT a pop-up, I can’t see the original page. When that is changed, it might be more usable.

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  4. In an ideal world, I will have a LOT of time to look at new stuff like that and see for myself. But really, I’ll just rely on your recommendations πŸ™‚

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  5. I’m loathed to try another app. but as you say it has social benefits but I have put you on my del.icio.us/sarchi network you carry on a constructive meander

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