Blue Dot is a new service which moved into public beta last week that has the aim of using social networks for sharing digital information. At first glance, I thought it was just another social bookmarking site, although after I played around a bit, I found that it’s much more then that and has some great potential. As Genbeta put it (thank you, Google Translate), it’s more of an aggregator that allows you to track what your friends in your network are bookmarking or “dotting.” With Blue Dot, you can look at multiple friends in your network at once to view, comment, and dot their shared dots. You can also find new friends, invite friends and family to join your network, explore the Blue Dot community of dotted content, and even customize your profile.
Blue Dot has a great looking design and it’s interface is very well laid out making it easy to use and navigate. The main page gets right to it and displays dots (bookmarks) created by friends in your network. But rather then simply listing all the dots from inside your network like many social bookmarking sites do, Blue Dot creates a seperate container for each friend. Each container shows your friends latest dots, number of new dots since your last visit, and little arrows on the top right that lets you navigate through all of your friends dots within that one small container. I’m really liking the container idea because it allows me to easily see activity of multiple friends in my network on one single page.
Blue Dot offers a great tool which you can optionally use with the service to make dotting the web easier. Firefox users have to drag two bookmarklet butons on their toolbar while Internet Explorer users have to install the Blue Dot toolbar. Then, as you browse through the web and come across a site you want to share with your network, simply click the “Dot This!” button and a new box will appear at the top right of the site. This box allows you to fill in basic information about the site, which also includes pre-fetched descriptions and images selected by Blue Dot. All you usually have to do is just fill in a few tags and optionally select an image to assign with your bookmark. Even assigning an image to your dot is simple because, similar to Kaboodle, Blue Dot will grab all images on the site you are saving to your network and allow you to simply select one of them to associate the dot with. Now, if for some reason you don’t want to use Blue Dot’s tool or you are away from your computing, you may still easily dot any website by using their “Dot From Anywhere” section that is just a basic form on their site allowing you to manually add a site to your network.
One feature that I found interesting that I haven’t seen in a similar social service before is a feature that Blue Dot calls, “Auto Dotting.” The idea is that if you are a blogger, why not publicize your posts that you make in your network of friends? Blue Dot allows you to hook up your blog to the service and will immediately insert your most recent posts. Then, every half-hour, Blue Dot will check your blogs RSS feed looking for new posts and automatically dot it. Only hosted blogging platforms are supported including WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, and MySpace. I’d imagine if the Blue Dot community and your network gets large enough, this feature can really help in getting your blog posts seen. Neat tool.
I feel Blue Dot is very well made and has a unique system that definitely helps seperate it from similar services. It’s like a social bookmarking site, except it has much heavier social networking features implemented into it and I feel that’s where it strikes the gold. You can view bookmarks from individual friends in your network, find and invite friends, and explore the many dottings by other users. You can also add Blue Dot widgets to your website that show your most recent dots. But just like every new social bookmarking site, it makes me wonder how well it will do against its competition. But all-in-all, Blue Dot has a great system and I’m definitely excited to see how the service progresses.
One last note. I’m under the username of “bbenzinger.” If you signup to Blue Dot, look me up and friend me! I’d love to see what you all dot ;-).