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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Thumbtack

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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?