Not too long ago, there was a saying that stated “Money makes the world go round”. However, with the advent of the web and breakthrough modern devices like smartphones, there has been a shift of relevance towards information as the most important thing that we can have access to instead.
As a result of this shift, countless services focusing on information have arisen that help us address our constantly increasing need for it, some of which we have already covered in past entries. It is because of this though, that it is refreshing to find an online service that does something new in order to make it easier for us to access important information that might be relevant to us.
This is the case of Pugmarks, a new online tool that goes beyond the simple bookmarking approach to get you closer to your important information.
The essence of Pugmarks is “Discovery through context”, which means that the tool makes use of your web activity, including the websites you read, any kind of research you perform and even (and most importantly) the people you meet and interact with via your social networks, which you have to link to Pugmarks when you sign up if you want to really take full advantage of the service.
Interestingly, you can also link your RSS feeds to Pugmarks. I was pleasantly surprised by this, as should be anyone who uses an RSS feed reading service (like these Google Reader alternatives), since it means you won’t have to manually feed Pugmarks with all the news sources you care about. It also shows that the people behind it really cared enough when developing this tool to have all the most important fronts covered, and this small addition is hugely appreciated.
Well, once you sign up, link your profiles and upload your RSS news channels, Pugmarks uses them to gather useful information about you and your habits on the web, which it in turn uses to provide you with information that it considers might be relevant to you but that you wouldn’t find through your regular channels. Its purpose (as stated on their website) is to “augment” your experience regardless of what you do on the web.
Now, in order to really use Pugmarks in an immersive and optimal way, you will need to install an extension on your browser, which it uses to provide you with information in real time as you navigate the web using a small space at the top of every window you browse.
One of the most interesting features of Pugmarks is also the way in which it allows you to discover not just things you are interested in, but actually also things that people that interest you might care about. Browse someone’s LinkedIn profile for example, and you will see instant recommendations on what they might like, which can come very handy when meeting someone for the first time.
Not everything is ideal with Pugmarks of course. The tool still needs some polish, as I discovered when I found it kept presenting me with somewhat repetitive news on particular topics. Also, not everyone might like loosing some screen real estate when installing the browser extension, which to be honest, is quite necessary to enjoy the service (although you can control this to some degree on the extension’s settings). On mobile phones, while the web app behaves decently, it certainly doesn’t match the convenience of a native app that you could access on or offline.
Of course, these are all just a few quirks and lacking aspects that are common on beta releases like this one, and many (or hopefully all) of these might be solved before the official release. In the meantime, Pugmarks is definitely a tool/service worth checking, as it is already great as it stands and it will only improve in the future.