So long 20th Century Yahoo Bookmarks

Techcrunch reports Yahoo! Bookmarks Enters 21st Century.

Back in 1999, I developed Yahoo Bookmarks for the 20th Century. Building the site was a fun little project, it was basically a single My Yahoo module blown to full product size. But the real action was in the Yahoo Companion (now Toolbar) which gave seamless access to bookmarks across multiple machines, by getting underneath the skin of the browser. This was pretty mind blowing stuff back then!

So now Bookmarks will run on the MyWeb platform (without the sharing), along with delicious, and that’s so long to the storing bookmarks as key-value serialized structures in the user database. Bookmarks was based pretty literally on Netscape Bookmarks. When I just migrated, first level folders were converted to tags, and nested folders discarded. Adios 20th Century.

I’m really surprised to read that Yahoo Bookmarks has 20 million active users. This is probably 99.9% through the toolbar. The Bookmarks site hasn’t changed one iota since I stopped working on it, the Export Bookmarks feature has been “new” for 7 years. Implementing this feature was a small political struggle .. not everyone was convinced we should allow users to leave. Guess this hasn’t been a problem! We also had a 1000 bookmark limit .. somewhat arbitrary, but there were efficiency limits in the user database. One Techcrunch commentator was “heart broken” by this limit .. me too. Oh well, limits are so 20th century.

Interestingly, we did have a lot of discussion back then about public bookmarks. This wouldn’t have been so much like, but a kind of searchable uber-directory, available perhaps only to friends in Yahoo Messenger. I don’t know, it wasn’t well thought through, and would’ve been a big mess .. the web hadn’t figured out how to share things on that scale. And there was still a wariness about user contributed content, one of the reasons why Yahoo didn’t jump on RSS immediately.

Pretty incredible to see how far Yahoo and the web have gone since those days.