A New Approach to Sharing Web Research

There are many approaches to sharing information you’ve found on the web, but a new free tool called eSnips is one of the most useful and intriguing yet seen.

Net Snippets, the company that developed a product for post-search information management, has rolled out a new tool for collecting and sharing information. eSnips is a way cool tool—a little hard to describe but amazing in its capabilities.

A caveat: eSnips is just barely in beta, and every now and then it hiccups, so be patient. I have already seen several improvements in the service since I have begun using it, and I have high hopes that it will continue to improve.

So, what is eSnips? At its most basic, it provides a free web-based file storage and sharing tool. You can upload up to one gigabyte of material—plain text, music, photos, screen shots, whatever. Since I travel a fair amount, I was first attracted to eSnips as a simple way to make a back-up copy of my essential files and presentations accessible from any PC.

But what makes eSnips interesting is that, with its toolbar, you can “snip” any content you see on the web and have that material stored in your eSnips account as well. If I am doing research for a client, I can highlight the portion of a web page that I think would be useful, click the “Snip” button on the toolbar, and that content, along with the URL, is stored in my eSnips account.

If I want to save a screen shot, I pull down the “Snip” menu and select Screen Shot. I can even specify whether I want to grab the full page or just a section, and—if the latter—whether I want to snag a portion of the page in the shape of a square, rectangle, ellipse, and so on. I can add a title and description to the snipped content, and then I specify in which folder within my eSnips account the file should be saved.

What I find particularly interesting about eSnips is that I can also share any folder with others. There are times when I have trouble getting a large file to a client, particularly if the client’s IT department has set up a firewall that blocks attached files over a certain size. Now, I can simply set up a new folder, upload the file(s) I want my client to have, and then send an “invitation” to her email address. My client clicks on a link included in the email and has access to the folder as soon as she provides her email address.

For people who are, say, using eSnips as a way to share vacation photos with friends and family, there is even an option to allow others to upload their own files to the folder or to comment on the files in the folder (“gee, that picture of little Susie on the roller coaster sure is cute”). Anyone who has access to the folder is notified whenever a new file is added to the folder.

Since eSnips is just barely in beta, it is continuing to evolve. Right now, the toolbar only works with Internet Explorer, although a Firefox version is in the works. And while the wording of the email invitation to share a folder doesn’t offer much flexibility now, eSnips plans on building in more options.

Although eSnips is a stand-alone product now, Yael Elish, CEO of Net Snippets, says that the company plans on integrating it with Net Snippets Professional in the future. Once that happens, this will be an even more powerful tool for organizing and sharing information.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Opera Web browser goes ad free
MacWorld Sep 20 2005 10:43PM GMT
LR: Google Global Network
Light Reading Sep 20 2005 10:08PM GMT
Paid Search Expected to Outpace Display By 2010
ClickZ Today Sep 20 2005 8:19PM GMT
From Google to Noodles: A Chef Strikes Out on His Own
New York Times Sep 20 2005 2:11PM GMT
Why CPA is Not a Cure for Click Fraud
iMedia Connection Sep 20 2005 2:08PM GMT
Which Stats Package is right for you?
Webmaster World Sep 20 2005 1:54PM GMT
The Newest Front in the Online Wars: Splogs
Media Post Sep 20 2005 1:44PM GMT
Google offers clues to its own Wi-Fi service
CNET News.com Sep 20 2005 1:42PM GMT
Q and A: Have you been able to avoid the Google sandbox?
Dear Kalena Search Engine Advice Column Sep 20 2005 12:51PM GMT
Google won’t remove ‘failure’ link to Bush
iTnews Sep 20 2005 11:58AM GMT
Can Google bring openness to messaging?
Computer Weekly Sep 20 2005 10:43AM GMT
AdSense Compared to YPN: Advantage YPN
Search Engine Round Table Sep 20 2005 1:38AM GMT
Viewpoint: Tim Frankcom, European head of Travel, Yahoo/Kelkoo
eyefortravel.com Sep 20 2005 1:36AM GMT
New Rage Software Utility Automates Google Sitemap Creation
Mac Observer Sep 20 2005 1:33AM GMT
Google to bid on AOL?
CNET News.com Sep 20 2005 1:30AM GMT

Related reading

Simple Share Buttons