Since its debut in 2004, del.icio.us has been the market standard for social bookmarks. Its reputation was further enhanced in late 2005 when it was acquired by Yahoo!. Social bookmarking was going places. It wasn’t that long ago that every second blog (particularly in the tech niches) had some type of del.icio.us widget in a sidebar somewhere. Sometimes it was a simple list of the latest bookmarks the blog author had while other times it was a tag cloud of recently added items. Either way, del.icio.us seemed to be around every corner.
There have been many pretenders to the social bookmarking throne – Furl and Ma.gnolia are just two – but del.icio.us remained the place to go to see what other people felt was worth bookmarking. Even Google had a stab at it with the horribly named and feature free Google Shared Stuff. Nothing has been able to gain the traction that del.icio.us has managed.
Shared items have arrived at an interesting time and in something of a perfect storm. RSS is increasing in popularity and verges on mainstream acceptance. Lifestreaming services are popping up all over the place (see 35 ways to stream your life on ReadWriteWeb for example) and many of these services allow RSS feeds to be imported. Every Google Reader shared items page has an RSS feed. The recent addition of notes functionality allows individuals to add a note to items as they share them from within Google Reader. Add to this the Google Reader Notes bookmarklet that allows you to share any web page, and all bases seems to be covered.
I see more and more “link blogs” that are the blog author’s re-purposed shared items feed. Services like FriendFeed are full of other people’s shared items. Other services like Readburner absolutely depend on other people’s shared items feeds.
Yahoo! had better watch out. If Google Reader shared items aren’t the new del.icio.us yet, it’s only a matter of time before they are.
Will shared items replace del.icio.us for social bookmarking ? Let me know what you think in the comments.