…Boy, blogging is leading to so many interesting finds these days. Today, I got myself Furl. I am pretty darn sure I am going to find myself using this quite a bit.
1) How is Furl different than a blog?
This is a good question. Folks who use blogs know that they can accomplish similar things to Furl using blogging tools (especially with some customization). But just because something is possible, that doesn’t make it the right solution to the problem. Blogs are an amazing breakthrough for personal, digital publishing. If you have something original/insightful to say, blogs are your voice. On the flip side, Furl is focused on the consumption of digital media (including blogs). Many of us read hundreds of articles and other items online that influence our thinking (or are just amusing). Furl is our memory. Although Furl has some features that overlap with blogging tools, blogs and Furl approach Internet content in a fundamentally different way. Blogs focus on the content you create (which often contains links) while Furl focuses on the content you consume (i.e. what the links point to). This is why Furl offers powerful features such as archiving and full-text search, which apply to the linked page but don’t make as much sense in the blog space.
We believe that serious bloggers will be some of the biggest users of Furl. If you consume a lot of information through the Internet (as most bloggers do), you need a way to “remember” (i.e. save and recall) what you read, especially the most influential items. If you publish content in a blog, you already understand the power of sharing your thoughts with the public. Furl provides a turnkey solution to both of these needs, allowing bloggers to focus on publishing new content while saving and sharing their “latest reading” with their community at large.
2) How is Furl different than bookmarks or favorites?
Bookmarks and favorites are a great way to store and access frequently used locations on the Internet. Furl is designed to archive (as well as share) anything you read online. You may have tens of bookmarks but thousands of Furl entries. If you read your local newspaper online every morning, bookmark it. If you read several fascinating news articles every week, Furl them. You can Furl items from work and home. You can search for them later from any browser, and share them with friends.
3) Isn’t Furl a huge copyright violation?
A common misperception of Furl is that it allows people to share copyrighted work. Fortunately for everyone, that is not the case. When you save an item with Furl, you save a copy of the document, but that copy is only visible to you. When other users view an item in your public archive, they are directed to the publishers site. If that site requires membership, they must sign up to see the content.
Contrary to these concerns, we believe that Furl is a boon to publishers because it lets people share the interesting and useful information that they find online. This means that any publisher/journalist who produces good work, regardless of their strength in distribution, can be found by thousands of people who otherwise would have never ventured to the site. We know, personally, that we have read many wonderful articles that we never would have seen had it not been for Furl. If you have any concerns with regards to this issue, please contact us.
The first thing that struck me after I “furled” my first link was copyright violation. The answer to Question #3 tries to address that “concern”, but it’s a rather cheesy answer. 🙂 I am not sure websites like Economist, New York Times, Washington Post etc are going to take too kindly to this.