Profile: Furl

Company: Furl

Status: Founded in the spring of 2003 by Mike Giles. Acquired by Looksmart on September 23, 2004

Origin of the Name: “The origin of the name came from the very geeky description of what the system does – File URLs. If you can enter a URL and see it in your browser, we can save it for you. Once the name started being used and it was time to find a replacement, we just couldn’t come up with one we liked more. It’s short, simple and pretty easy to remember. And as an added bonus, the definition of “furl” is “to roll up and secure,” which is exactly what we do with all the interesting Web pages you find online.” Link

What is it?

Furl is a social bookmarking site often compared to (TechCrunch review of delicious here). However, there are some key differences and many people use both obsessively.

At its core, once you’ve signed up with furl, if you find a site/post that you want to retain, you can “furl” it and it is saved for you. You can find the site/post later by searching for tags that you’ve associated with it (or other meta data), or by a text search.

If you understand delicious but are unfamiliar with Furl, the best way to describe Furl is a more structured delicious. There are much deeper meta data options when bookmarking a page, for instance. With delicious, currently, you can only tag a page and annotate it with notes. With Furl, you can tag it, categorize it with pre-populated items, rate it and add notes. Many Furl users like these options when tagging pages. Some users don’t need the extra data, and don’t like the time it takes to fill it out. To see this visually, here is a screen shot of a furl bookmark:

Furl also does other things differently than delicious. The site you’ve bookmarked is saved at Furl (each member gets 5 gigs of storage), which means you can keep data even if the page changes. And, this allows for super-fast text searches on pages you’ve bookmarked, something delicious can’t offer. John Battelle puts it this way:

“So what is it about Furl that made me write that past paragraph? After all, it’s just a web page-saving application. Right? Well, yes and no. Furl does a good job of helping you manage your web browsing. It adds several features that others don’ t have – full text search on your saved pages, for example. But Furl saves the entire web page you’ve “furled”, not just the URL, which prevents link rot, on the one hand, and creates what I’ll call a “PersonalWeb,” on the other.” <a href="" Link

Viewing all of your furl links is much like delicious. You can either view them by signing into the site, or you (and everyone else) can view the links by going to the user-specific URL. For instance, all sites bookmarked with Furl by techcrunch can be viewed at These pages are available by RSS as well.

Replace “techcrunch” with any other user name in the link above, and you can see their bookmarks, too. Furl also has a private option, however, and those links will not be viewable to anyone except you.

There are also other nice Furl options, like adding friends who can be notified of your new postings, and the Furl search engine is fantastic, almost as an afterthought. Another feature – if you view a furl’d URL, you can see other URLs that user’s Furl’d as well – a great way to find related content (see last screen shot below)

Overall, Furl is excellent and highly recommended.

Key Features:

– easy bookmarking of sites
– retains cached copy of site
– tag and full text search
– easy sharing of bookmarks
– great tools (Link)
– great search engine
– great recommendation engine based on your furls – see last screen shot below)
– passionate users (see relevant links below)

Additional Screen Shots:

Relevant Links:

Contentious on Furl
Furl Tutorial
Contentious – 10 cool things to do with furl
Battelle on furl
Passingnotes on furl
Scip on furl
P.S. on not using Furl
D-Lib Magazine on Social Bookmarking Sites
Technorati tag: furl
delicious tag: furl
Furl Search: Furl

Tags: , , , , ,

roxomatic – Social bookmarks review
Marshall’s Web Tool Blog (discussion of Furl “tagging”)