Why I’ll never use Delicious again

I want to like Delicious, I really do. I’ve been using it to trap links of interest for a while now, and as someone who’s probably used 10 different computers regularly in the last few years, it seemed a handy way to store content I want to access again later, from anywhere. I installed the Delicious extension in Chrome recently and that made it easier and more likely that I’d share and tag links.

But my days with Delicious are over.

The social networks that have stood the test of time so far (“time” in Internet world meaning more than a year or two) have constantly added functionality, features and new design. Facebook does it every few months, it seems. Delicious, for whatever reason, never seemed to graduate into a really robust, useful platform for people to share and save content. It was hard (nearly impossible) to import and find friends, the interface was ugly and clumsy, and search was frustrating. It earned the moniker “Where links go to die” and that’s not too far from the truth, in my case.

It’s too late for Delicious. Google Reader has completely lapped it.

Google Reader started as a way to keep track of blog feeds, and I didn’t use it much beyond that. But then they began rolling out more useful features. You can tag and star items and organize feeds into folders. Then Google rolled out the “Share” function, which, with one click, allows you to post to your own public feed any item from your reader you wished. Google added the ability to find and follow friends via Google Reader and see, right from within your reader, what they are sharing. You can add notes and comments on items or send an item to someone via eMail. And let’s not forget the nifty ‘Trends’ stats feature (this is Google, after all) that shows you which feeds you’re most engaged with. (The official Google Reader blog is a great resource on all these features.)

For a long time, the only thing that kept me saving items to Delicious was the concept of “discovery.” Anything I wanted to save, share or tag in Google Reader was limited to feeds I was already subscribed to. If I happened across something on the Web or clicked to a link from Twitter, I didn’t have a good way to get it into my reader. Plus, I often found a single post interesting and bookmark-worthy, but had no desire to subscribe to the entire blog.

So, it was a two-party system for me: Google Reader to share and save the most interesting posts from among the feeds I already subscribed to, and Delicious for tagging and saving sites I randomly “found” out on the Web.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Google Reader has a “Note in Reader” bookmarklet! It does! And it has for two years! Drag the bookmarklet onto your browser’s toolbar, and wave goodbye to Delicious. The bookmarklet lets you save and/or share anything you find on the Web into your Google Reader. You can add notes and comments, just like you would on a blog post. I don’t know how I missed this feature, but to me, it pretty much means the end of Delicious.

The “Note in Reader” feature completes the content consumption round trip for me. Using Google Reader I can:

  • Subscribe to a blog or Web site’s feed to receive all its content
  • Arrange and sort feeds into folders and bundles
  • Star, tag, like, annotate and share specific items from those feeds to my own public “shared items” feed
  • Find and follow friends via my GMail contacts or other social networks, or even search for people via keyword or location, and then see and subscribe to items they are sharing
  • View recommendations for new feeds that Google generates by comparing my interests with feeds of users similar to me
  • Share and save content into my Google Reader from anywhere on the Web I happen to find it

I haven’t tinkered with Google Buzz much, but obviously Reader and Buzz are easily integrated so you can share items across that platform, too.

(I’m not even going to get started on Google Reader Play, which is possibly the biggest time suck I’ve ever seen – it curates and presents fun and interesting information from the Web it thinks I may like into a visual slideshow type of format and lets you share, like and save right from the screen. I’m talking hours lost here discovering fun stuff.)

So I’m sorry Delicious. I can’t even say that it was fun while it lasted, because it was always a bit cumbersome. It’s too bad we have to part ways, but with “Note in Reader” and all the other amazing options Google Reader offers, can you blame me?

Check out what I’m reading, saving and sharing via Google Reader here.

40 thoughts on “Why I’ll never use Delicious again

  1. Tremendous tip! I’ve been struggling with the *exact* same thing for a long time (except I moved on to Feedly for my reader recently, which I actually really like). I may have to give this a shot. Thanks for sharing!


    • What do you think of Feedly? I’ve heard some people mention it but feel like Google Reader just has too much integration with everything else I do on the Web for me to make the switch.

  2. Amy – thanks for the tip. I am still using Delicious, and will likely continue using it for some time. Agree with you completely that the interface is difficult to navigate, but I suppose I’m using it more out of habit then anything else.

    • I think habit kept me using it for a long time, as well. The clunky interface meant that I rarely, if ever, went back to links I put into Delicious. I’m hoping that by starting to “Note in Reader” I won’t lose track of items quite as much!

  3. Last time you gave great advice on how to organize your reader Amy (which I still do) and now you let me know about this? You are like a Google Reader Evangelist.

    I had the same thoughts about Delicious, but like you move from computer to computer everyday. Now with reader doing these things, I can’t wait!

    Thanks for the advice!

    • Glad to help out! For me, it’s necessity more than anything else. I subscribe to and try to read so much content that I have to have a way to organize and make sense of it all, lest I go crazy.

  4. I ended up doing something very similar, with Delicious essentially just being another tool.

    I signed up for Packrati.us, which connects your Twitter account with your Delicious account. EVERY link that you Tweet gets scooped up into your Delicious. Every link that you RETWEET gets scraped in, too — with options to tag them by user.

    I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to know that I don’t have to work as hard to find the links I liked.

    Google Reader can’t do that yet. So what I did was subscribe to my own Delicious feed within Reader. It’s nothing more than my “Cool Links From Twitter” feed now, and I can do with them what I wish.

    Don’t abandon Delicious entirely — just treat it more as a utility or tool than a network. ;)

    • Good tip! I hadn’t heard of Packrati. I’m not sure if I necessarily need/want to track every link I tweet or RT, but the methodology for doing so with the combination of Packrati, Delicious, and a feed into GReader that you described certainly sounds like a good workaround for grabbing those links. I wonder if/when Google Reader will add the ability to track Twitter links and pull them into Reader – or if Buzz already offers a way to do that? I agree that Delicious has abdicated its role as a social network (if you could argue it ever was one) and is now more of a utility.

      I also need to explore YOURLS more – I know you use that service for link shortening and tracking and it’s something I’ve been meaning to check out.

  5. Hey Amy,

    This looks really great. I just bookmarked your article in Delicious to go back and read later. ;)

    Seriously, though, this is exactly the reason I have a delicious account, yet rarely use it. I have actually been using Read It Later to store links I want to go back to. It easily syncs between my computer and my iphone. Though Read It Later is a bit of a selfish service since it isn’t automatically set up to share. It does offer a “Digest” version, which sets up all the links you save into a sort of newspaper presentation that you can share with friends. I haven’t tried it yet, but I really like the simplicity of RIL, so I have a feeling that I’ll give it a shot soon.

  6. I’ve been a Google Reader user for years, but somehow I missed the “Note in Reader” bookmarklet too. Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Amy, Great tip. I’m with Roon, having not discovered all the other features in Google reader. I’ve never tried Delicious or Digg, just getting by with the Reader. I will have to check out the Notes feature, as well as the Share functions. Thanks for this.

  7. Love this, Amy! You’ve converted me and I was utterly hooked on delicious for keeping track of links across different computers. I grew to accept the lack of any other features, but you’ve opened my eyes to all I was missing. Now the only challenge will be to find a way to import my old stuff into Reader.

  8. Amy – I did the same thing, break up with Delicious, a few months ago. I now clip all of those articles to Evernote where I can tag them and search through them. Many of those Delicious bookmarks at news organizations would stop being available after a time. This way, I always have them. If I find articles which may be good reading for my classes, I can make a folder public and direct students to read them. In addition, I was able to import my Delicious bookmarks directly into Evernote. Finally, with Evernote’s iPhone app, I can always access them. I still use Google Reader for RSS.

    • I’ve never been able to get on board with Evernote, but I don’t think I realized its capabilities. I’d been using more as online note-taking at conferences and never took advantage of the clipping features. That’s a great use of it to make public folders for your students! I remember having to buy bound, photocopied article coursepacks from the print & copy center in college – this is a much better alternative!

  9. I feel the same way about Delicious. It seems the most innovative they’ve been lately is changing to Delicious instead of del.icio.us. I haven’t been able to utilize it as greatly as I’d like to as far as bookmarking and sharing links, but on the Mac platform there’s a tool called DeliBar that might make it easier to use in some instances. I don’t know, though, b/c I still can’t get into it.

    I’m not a power-user for Reader, and I’ve just been using it like an RSS aggregator with the desktop apps Netnewswire and Gruml From there I can tag, share, and star feeds to sync up w/ Reader on the web and phone. Bookmarklets for web apps and services like Reader and Bit.ly have also seemed to make Delicious too cumbersome. I can pull up the bookmarklet for the bit.ly sidebar and share with Twitter and FB simultaneously and then track clicks from there. Reading your post, I also see there’s a bookmarklet for sharing in Reader, so I’ll check that out, too.

    Thanks for the post; I was thinking that I was missing something in the utilization of Delicious!

    • FYI, delicious has a share via twitter function now. I am a hardcore/oldschool delicious user (been using it since february of 2005! longer than just about any other service). I think that the “stability” of the feature set is one of the selling points. It is good at link saving, sharing, and categorization. I often give my clients the url to a specific tag feed, i’ve integrated delicious with various websites to show only links with specific tags from multiple prescreened and selected users (http://civicactions.com/blog/2009/sep/15/civicactions_bookmarks_delicious).

      In my mind, delicious is perfect at what it does, and from what I’ve seen, reader doesn’t match it. But I’m open to new solutions, just not for the sake of consolidation or new features that are not important to me.

  10. Great tip- thanks! I’ve always used Delicious as a way of saving things I think I’ll need down the road, and I use it constantly… but you’re right – it rarely releases updates and when it does, they aren’t usually noteworthy. I’ve heard a few people say they’ve switched from Delicious to Evernote even. I’ll probably continue to use Delicious as well, but I’m excited to check out this feature in Reader. I’ve actually never really liked Google Reader, but perhaps this will change my mind. Thanks again.

  11. Hi Amy,

    I discovered that nifty “note in reader” feature recently but didn’t really look into its function, so thanks for the reminder! I too have been using both Delicious and Google Reader, but I definitely want to explore some of the other options/features in Reader that you discussed.

    Thanks for the helpful post!

  12. Funny, your reasoning is what made me leave Reader almost exclusively for Delicious. The constant mind-numbing recommendations and placing things on my homepage that I didn’t really care about. I just want to get in and out.

    I save pieces on Delicious, and then Evernote helps complete my thoughts. ;)

  13. I still find Delicious useful. I don’t use it for sharing, I use it for reference – Bookmarking.

    But it’s mostly a backup now. Diigo, FTW!

  14. WOW your post just convinced me to stop delicious. thank you!
    One more site I don’t have to visit anymore WOOT!

    So my next question is what did you do with all your bookmarks in delicious?
    Import the exported html into your favorite browser?
    Start over from scratch with gReader bookmarklet?
    I have over 3000 in delicious and they are valuable to me.

    oh by the way you have a new subscriber now thanks to @ZEE for sharing your post on twitter.

  15. Have you figured out a way to create feeds consisting of links shared in reader by tag? I’ve only seen the all shared items which includes blogs and links/notes across all tags.

    • I haven’t experimented with that yet, but it’s a good idea. I would bet that Google Reader has that capability somehow… something else for me to look into!

      You make a good point about Delicious being perfect for what it does, but for me personally, I was looking for more features and more options to manage and share links with my connections in one spot. Thanks for sharing your insights and your blog post!

  16. Wow thank you for this blog post. I love Google Reader and have been using it for a few years now and also didn’t know about the “Note in Reader” feature. Will definitely be using this!

  17. I stopped using Delicious too, for exactly the same reasons.

    Now I use a combination of things that are a bit *more* inconvenient – by design – but work for me.

    I realised that part of the reason I was doing so much on Delicious was that it was too easy. So I started using Posterous, Tumblr, Amplify (and a couple of other ‘proper’ blogs) to bookmark. I set myself a rule that, for every bookmark, I’d spend at least five minutes writing some thoughts or whatever came into my head.

    This did three things: I only saved stuff that was really useful. Some of the thoughts I had were really useful. And I started to link the bookmarks together and had ‘chained’ thoughts.

    Some of the links I found were unbloggable (usually ‘sites’ rather than posts) so I put them into a Google Site.

    And then created a custom Google Search Engine (which sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is) to handle refinding (though I found I needed this a lot less) as well as subscribing to my own blogs (and you could do this with your Delicious feed @B. Moore) in Google Reader.

    Anyhoo – more inconvenience in the short term makes things more convenient in the long-term.

    • That’s a good point about forcing yourself to interact with or comment on content that you save, so you’re forced to cull a little bit more and be selective about what gets saved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  18. Amy,

    Would you please comment about the SEO value of Delicious links vis-a-vis Google Reader. It seems to have some value with Y! to have more Delicious tags, so at least on one browser it would be important to continue Delicious bookmarking; even if the ‘social’ element is tougher and there has been no progression in the interface or usability.


    • Hi Mark – I’m not an SEO expert so I’d need to look into this a little more. I’m sure that Delicious links do have SEO value (if indicated by nothing more that people try to spam Delicious with junk links all the time). I also don’t know if shared links via Google Reader or Buzz are a part of the page rank algorithm.

      But, this post was coming more from a personal perspective for me – I’m looking for the best system to organize, categorize and share information that I find interesting or useful. So I don’t necessarily need SEO juice from that. I could see where it might be important though for organizations that use social bookmarking as part of their content strategy.

      Great question – maybe a good topic for an interview with an SEO pro for a future post…

  19. This has been on my mind too. Thanks for posting.

    I have a question about using the “note in Reader” bookmarklet:

    If I don’t check the “Add to shared items” box does that mean it will only be visible to me and not be public? Seems like it would but just wanted to see what you think.

    Great post :)

  20. I haven’t used Delicious for a while, mainly because I replaced it with Pinboard, which imports my Twitter favorites (and links if I want them) as well as shares from Stumbleupon and Delicious bookmarks). Since most of it is automatic, I no longer have to think about it.

    • Sharon, you are awesome. I signed up for Pinboard (and paid their huge huge huge fees :)) a couple of years ago and completely forgot about it.

      You reminded me of their loveliness.


    • Good tip on Pinboard! Have never heard of it and will check it out. I use the “favorites” feature in Twitter as a way to bookmark tweets, but it would be nice to import those.

  21. Delicious has been dead to me for several months now. These days I too use the Twitter favorites function as a holding place for interesting links and sites but also use Google Reader intermittently. I use Google Reader more for search of RSS-fed sites, though.

  22. Really helpful post, and really helpful comments. Thanks everyone! I’ve never been able to work out how to get the most out of Delicious (or Google Reader, for that matter), but now maybe I don’t need to. Thanks again!

  23. Count me among those who use Delicious, but with increasing self-doubt.

    I use Delicious a little bit differently: If there’s a link I want to save, but not necessarily blast out to a broader audience (i.e., Twitter), I save it to Delicious. My Delicious account used to push through to Twitter, but I stopped that so I could save things more for myself.

    Google Reader, on the other hand, is still set up to push to Twitter. Links that I save on Google Reader are save-worthy AND share-worthy.

    Because I have a need for both private and public saving, I’ll probably keep using Delicious. We’ll see, though — you’ve got me teetering. Thanks, Amy.

  24. There’s something to be said for simplicity and rock-solid functionality. I am a huge fan of Delicious and constantly use my account to save and recall links, especially for tools, case studies and trend info I used to write plans. It’s like an extra brain. That’s not as easy in Google Reader. Not a week goes by where I don’t pull up a link in Delicious.

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