Furl vs. Spurl
December 27th, 2005
I recently made the transition from Furl to Spurl for storing online content. In case you’re new to these services, they are social bookmark managers that, apart from simply bookmarking (like del.icio.us), store full page contents on their servers, allowing for quick searches in the future. Like all other social bookmark managers they allow you to share your bookmarks and provide all sorts of RSS feeds, although they are not as flexible as del.icio.us is in this area.
- Cross browser compatibility. Both services have bookmarklets for adding pages which are supported across a wide variety of browsers (IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc).
- Keep a snapshot of the webpage even if the page is no longer available online.
- Search through your archive (all the content you’ve ever saved).
- Search by keywords (tags).
- Search by category.
- Search through other peoples archives (public content only).
- Share bookmarks with other users.
- Provide “Recommended Links” based on the content you bookmarked.
Furl advantages over Spurl:
- Furl allows you to export your archive. This includes the content of all the bookmarked pages (in a zip file). Spurl only allows you to export the bookmarks without the content.
- Furl has an option to set the default status of items to “private”. With Spurl, you have to explicitly set the item as private when bookmarking it.
- You can rate the pages you furl. This is a nice thing to have when browsing through your archive (you can sort by ratings).
- Cleaner interface. I think Furl is easier to use for non-techies (my wife uses it).
Spurl advantages over Furl:
- del.icio.us integration. When you add a bookmark to Spurl, it automatically gets added to your del.icio.us account (optional).
- Spurl offers an API. This is very important for the future of the service.
- Spurl offers a cool sidebar panel for IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari. This makes searching and browsing Spurl much quicker and easier.
- You can create subcategories.
Feature wise, it is quite a close match. I decided to move to Spurl due to delicious integration, the sidebar panel and the fact that since LookSmart acquired Furl over a year ago, there has been almost no improvements made to the service. Spurl feels much more open and the people behind it appear to be more dedicated to their idea than Furl guys and that’s the type of service I give my trust to.
A note on the move itself. I exported all the bookmarks from Furl and imported them into Spurl. The import took around a day (this is a security not a performance issue) and all the pages were correctly indexed. The bad thing is that my furl tags have been lost in this transition. I wish these services started using a better format for import/export which would contain some meta data.
Another player in this area is Yahoo’s MyWeb, but I’ve dismissed it since it is not elegant to use and lacks openness and some essential stuff such as categories. No, tags are not enough!