By Eric Auchard
Web page bookmarks that help surfers return to useful Internet sites
are undergoing a transformation as new tools emerge for users to
categorize and share favorite sites automatically with others.
For, while Web surfing remains the essential gesture of our age,
jumping from site to site is a broken way of keeping track of
On Wednesday, Silicon Valley start-up Kaboodle Inc. will offer a novel
way for Web surfers facing information overload to keep a running
record of useful sites and extract key details for personal use or to
share with like-minded users.
Kaboodle (http://www.kaboodle.com/) -- short for "whole kit and
caboodle," a collection of lots of objects -- allows users to create
Web pages to manage personal research, do comparison shopping, make
wish lists or plan travel.
"The process is pretty clunky of trying to look at a whole bunch of
information by going from site to site," said Manish Chandra,
Kaboodle's founder and CEO. "Each Kaboodle page represents a custom
search result you have created," he said.
Kaboodle joins a host of rivals in an area known variously as
collaborative search, social tagging or social bookmarking, where
people point out interesting sites and help put the information found
on them into meaningful categories.
The shared search craze recently reached a pinnacle on Del.icio.us
http://del.icio.us/ , a site that has struck a chord with users keen
to know where others are surfing on the Web. Other examples include
diversified Internet companies such as Yahoo, with its MyWeb service,
MyJeeves from IAC's AskJeeves and newer players such as Wink and
"There are so many alternatives, my head is spinning," Forrester
analyst Charlene Li said. "Kaboodle works by offering really simple
Every time a user clicks to save a Web page, Kaboodle software studies
the page to extract a headline, short summary, and the body of text or
images -- and creates a summary page.
These summary pages can then become links for each personal reference
or be shared with other users. The page can also be annotated by the
user or other readers to add additional information. They can also be
rated for usefulness. The user controls which summary pages become
public or stay private.
Kaboodle can work entirely as a personal tool. The social aspect of sharing
searches with others is just a side benefit.
The company employs 12 people and has attracted $1.5 million in
investment. It was only incorporated in January, but the technology
underpinning it was developed over the prior year, said Keiron
McMammon, co-founder and chief architect.
"The technology learns in the background," McMammon said. "The system
continues to get smarter and smarter over time."
He said the Web information extraction technology is based on
theoretical work by Rajeev Motwani and Ashish Gupta.
Motwani is a Stanford University professor and co-author of the
academic paper on Web search "pagerank" technology first published by
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. Gupta
co-founded Junglee, a data-integration software company that was
acquired by Amazon.com, also in 1998. Both are investors in Kaboodle,
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
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