Microsoft unveils Thumbtack for sharing Web snippets

Microsoft unveiled an online service that can be used to collect and share bits of information from various Web pages.

Microsoft's Live Labs on Wednesday introduced a new service that lets users collect snippets of information from Web sites and share the collections with others.

A user investigating vacation ideas, for example, might find Thumbtack helpful. Once users log into Thumbtack, they can copy a portion of a Web site, perhaps one that describes a hotel in a particular city, and paste it into a new collection in Thumbtack. The information appears in Thumbtack as an item in a box that can be placed anywhere on the collection page or as an item in a list. The user can continue browsing online for other hotels, similarly cutting and pasting relevant information into the Thumbtack collection.

Thumbtack gadgets add additional details to each item. For example, clicking on the address gadget automatically looks for addresses in the items and displays them on a map on the side of the screen.

Users can share collections with other people in a couple of ways. The "share" button opens a small window where the user can enter e-mail addresses to send the collection to. Or, the "publish" button creates a URL for the collection that the user can cut and paste to send to someone via e-mail or instant message, or embed in a blog.

Users can also comment on and tag each item in a collection.

An additional feature that users can choose to download, the Thumbtack bookmarklet, automatically pastes onto a Thumbtack page all text that a user copies while browsing.

Thumbtack works in Internet Explorer and Firefox, but it lacks some features when used in Firefox, Microsoft said.

The concept behind the service is reminiscent of Search Together, a Microsoft Research project that lets people collaborate on searches by sharing links and comments about the links with other people.

It's also similar in concept to Mozilla's Joey, a defunct project that let people copy and paste portions of Web pages onto a single page that they could access from their mobile phones or another computer.

Thumbtack is also like other available services, including Google Notebook. But Thumbtack developers think their service has a difference. "Thumbtack stands apart in its ability to introspect on incoming data in order to automatically classify it and extract structure from it using machine learning," according to the FAQ about the service.

In addition, Thumbtack offers users more freedom, in that they can arrange content on a page any way they like, the FAQ notes.

Live Labs is a group at Microsoft that builds online services that may or may not become official Microsoft products with ongoing support. The Live Labs blog post about Thumbtack did not specify whether the offering is a short-term trial or an offering to be supported over the long term.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Thumbtack

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?