|The web's #1 interpersonal URL sharing tool! Start link hugging today!|
I can best explain what problem LinkHugger.com solves through the personal story leading up to its hasty development.
My girlfriend and I like to exchange web links throughout the day, even while we're at work. The usual things like cat videos, interesting articles, and so forth. The problem was that we had to IM links back and forth where, in the IM boxes, links would be forgotten until we each had a free second to check them out. I mean, most of the time we are working after all. So by the time we had a comfy second we might have closed our IM boxes or, having long scrolled them away, simply dismissed the links altogether without ever looking.
E-mailing links was a bit more reliable but it begged a process. Which e-mail address? Work, home, or maybe to the mobile phone. In any event, it's a pain to start a composition window just for a link. So e-mailing was "okay" but not really suitable in that it was just too much trouble for the cause. Even where retrieving goes it quickly gets disorganized and in any event we just don't spend that much time in our inboxes anymore. E-mailing or IMing links are fine for important exchanges where a quick response is required, but not for the casual links that bind us as people and lead to fun conversations later.
You would think the next obvious solution would be a service like Delicious or Google Bookmarks. Bookmarks are what they do. But neither of us had a Delicious account and wouldn't want that complexity just for sharing personal bookmarks. As for Googe Bookmarks we actually do each have accounts but lo and behold there is no way to share one-on-one links through it! Google Bookmarks used to have something called bookmark "lists" but they discontinued that. You could share these lists but even that didn't mean one-to-one. Your lists had to be public. Finally, even if there were other bookmarking services out there that allowed this kind of tight link sharing, why would we totally leave our uniform Google Bookmarks, which we are otherwise happy with, to address just one inconvenience? By the time we gave up trying to meet this simple goal we were down to using Google Docs for god's sake. Enough was enough.
Yes, as improbable as it sounds, there didn't seem to be a ready way on the web to bounce links back and forth in such a way that it would not be overly complicated, and, completely reliable where recall was concerned. My personal theory, which is completely off the top of my head and without investigation, is that there simply isn't any dot com money to be made in enabling people to share links easily. That's why the services that should be able to allow interpersonal sharing don't. They are more about building up a broader sharing platform which can ultimately be tapped for trend and revenue analysis. In other words, building bookmarking sites are great so long as they are part of the emerging "social media" infrastructure where millions of people acquire and store links to re-capitulate to a million others, but there's nothing to be mined out of Jane and Joe wanting to directly share the occassional link. It's totally not worth anyone's time.
So in one single night after discussing what an application like this would do with my chickie-boo, I built LinkHugger.com. It allows people, couples ideally, to share a common web plate of links that either party can add to or retrieve from at any time. One does not even have to take time out to say "Hey I found this link and posted it at LinkHugger" because they can easily load up the auto-refresh retrieval page and allow whatever links their signficant other or friends might have added to appear naturally. From this plate either party, or anyone with the retrieval code, can delete the links or add a new one. What a relief!
Try it out yourself. It works best by settling on a common and perhaps cryptic "code", and for small groups of people or just a couple. I think once you try this you'll agree a simple problem in sharing has been resolved.
Copyright, David Pinero © 2011