YouTube founders relaunch Delicious, rebuilt from the ground up
Social bookmarking sites aren't as popular as they used to be, but YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are hoping to taste success with the relaunch of Delicious.com.
The rebooted Delicious, which rolled out Tuesday, is still focused on bookmarking and sharing among Delicious users, but the entire website has been rebuilt from scratch.
"After acquiring the service from Yahoo in April, we realized that in order to keep innovating over the long term, the eight-year-old site needed to be rebuilt from the ground up," the team behind the new Delicious said in a blog post.
"The result is a new homepage, interface and back-end architecture designed to make Delicious easier to use. We're proud of what we built, but the process has also brought the site 'back to beta' as a work in progress. Much more work will be needed to realize our vision: keeping the essence of Delicious -- the premier social bookmarking tool -- while building upon its core functionality to create a great discovery service, too."
As to whether or not Delicious, Digg or Reddit (which has benefited from its rivals' reboots with traffic boosts) is the "premier social bookmarking tool" out there -- well, that's up for debate. But what is clear is that social bookmarking sites have declined in terms of popularity as more people share links directly via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Digg, which focuses more on social news reading than straight-up bookmarking, is trying out yet another approach with what it calls Newsrooms that bundle links around specific topics.
The new Delicious lets users curate their own list of links that it calls Stacks, which can be centered on any topic a user chooses. Links in the new Delicious are the same as bookmarks in the old version of the site, not to confuse anybody. And sorely needed features such as the ability to add a profile picture and tag links with multiple words have been added.
Delicious described Stacks as "playlists for the Web" in a post on a blog of its parent company, AVOS.
AVOS, of course, is Hurley and Chen's San Mateo start-up that took over Delicious from Yahoo.
Users can easily create a stack by pasting in links to any topic they want at Delicious.com, or by way of a browser button that will add the bookmarked link to the site as well.
Users can customize their stacks by choosing not only all the links that show up, but also the title of their stack, tags to help other users find their stacks in search, and a description and comment for each link as well.
Stacks are published to the public only when a user wants them to be, so research and time can be taken to build a stack before sharing, and stacks can always be edited after going live as well.
"Our goal with stacks is to add more value to all the links being collected by the Delicious community," the team said in its post. "Each new stack presents an opportunity to introduce the rest of the world to cool Web content they haven’t seen before."
Delicious did express a bit of nervousness on Tuesday, in its blog post, using a quote from Marty McFly in "Back to the Future":
"What if they say I’m no good? What if they say, 'Get outta here, kid, you got no future?' "
"We feel a bit like Marty today as we launch the new Delicious," the post said.
And the team has good reason to feel that way. Social sharing and social networking tools are only as good the people who use them. When users go away, so does the usefulness of the service. Delicious will need to lure in new users and maybe some old users who left along the way if it's to return to the significance it once had.
What do you think of the new Delicious and social bookmarking and news reading in general? How does the new Delicious stack up to the new Digg? Does the world still need services such as these when so much is shared on Facebook, Twitter and Google+?
Sound off in the comments.
Image: A screen shot of the new Delicious.com. Credit: Delicious/AVOS