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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?