Tag: firefox_plugin

Foxmarks to launch next great search engine?

Google had a great idea. Order your search results based on the number of times a site is linked to. Brilliant! A link to a site is counted as a vote of confidence in the site’s quality/veracity. And it works because people generally only link to interesting sites.

Foxmarks is a nifty little Firefox plugin which uploads your Firefox bookmarks to a central server, so you can synchronise your bookmarks across machines. Again brilliant – if you typically use more than one computer (one at home and one at work, for example).

I read today on TechCrunch that FoxMarks is going to use the bookmark information which users of the plugin have uploaded, to create a new search engine. Privacy concerns aside, I love it!

This is the 1,157th blog post on this site. I don’t have any numbers on the amount of outward links I have created in those posts but I imagine two per post would be a conservative estimate. So I have created, in the order of 2,300 links on this blog. And I write in and contribute to other blogs as well. Let’s say I have created (again conservatively) a total of 2,500 links.

Now how many sites have I bookmarked? About 160. Therefore, any site I go to the trouble of bookmarking, must be significantly more important than one I simply link to.

Foxmarks are taking the Google model of a link as a vote of confidence and replacing it with the bookmark as a vote of confidence. Will it work? Well, according to Mike Arrington, who got a demo recently:

it definitely has a “wow” factor. Searches for most things ended up with incredible results.

Foxmarks also shows if the results appear on Google and Yahoo, and on what page in the results they appear. For many of the queries, the top result on Foxmarks was quite obviously the perfect result – but it appeared, if at all, deep on the result set for Google and Yahoo. Terms that are likely to have a lot of SEO pollution (ecommerce in particular), the results were strikingly better on Foxmarks v. Google.

Having said all that, Google have their Google Browser Sync application which has similar functionality to Foxmarks currently, so fine tuning their search results with bookmark info should be trivial for them.

I hope they do because getting 1,210,000 results for the search term “Microsoft Hotmail deletes email” is just ridiculous, even considering how bad Hotmail is!

OPML autodiscovery

OPML is a file format which is used to save lists of RSS feeds. Very handy, for instance, for copying your list of RSS feeds from one feed reader to another. I uploaded a list of my RSS subscriptions to an OPML file on this server so the Grazr plugin in the sidebar on the right can display them similar to a blogroll.

James Corbett, Ireland’s OPML ambassador, recently advised me to add autodiscovery of OPML to this site. Adding OPML is as simple as adding the following line to the head section of the site’s code:

Why would you want to add OPML autodiscovery to your page code? Frankly, apart from making finding your OPML file easier, I’m not entirely sure!

There’s a Firefox plugin, which lights up a blue icon in the Status bar when you browse to a site which has added the autodiscover code allowing you to view the site owners subscriptions.

Firefox OPML Autodiscovery plugin

There’s a bit of work involved in the management of OPML files. I’m always updating the RSS feeds in my reader adding new feeds and deleting old ones so any OPML file I upload is almost immediately out of date. If there were some way I could have my RSS reader synch with the remote OPML file, that would reduce a lot of the overhead.

Then again, I don’t want to publish all my RSS subscriptions (some are client sensitive) so I’d need some way of synching a subset of my feeds to my OPML file to ensure that the OPML file I’m publishing is an accurate reflection of my current reading.