Adaptiveblue has recently launched the public beta of Blueorganizer, a Firefox extension designed to help you organize and bookmark content on the web. I’ve been testing Blueorganizer ever since it’s initial private beta release and it’s a pretty solid tool with functionality that lets you bookmark more then just websites. You can look at it as a product smart bookmarking tool where if you are bookmarking a book from Barnes and Noble or a CD from Amazon.com, Blueorganizer will know and format the bookmark specific to that product.
At start, the collection of products and websites that you are saving in your organizer will be saved locally on your hardrive, but if you create an adaptiveblue account, your collection will be stored online so you may easily access it from anywhere. Adaptiveblue takes advantage of Amazon’s S3 storage service allowing you to save your data online giving you possibilities with Blueoganizer including RSS feeds for your collection and website badges. That’s not all though. Blueorganizer is also a tool that allows you to easily buy, compare, and search about any product that you save in your organizer.
To get started, head over to Adaptiveblue and download the extension. Once installing and restarting your browser, you will see two new buttons in your Firefox navigation toolbar that look like what you see to the right. The left button allows you to bookmark, or “bluemark” as Blueorganizer calls it, and the right button lets you open up your collection. Let’s begin with opening your collection.
When you open your collection for the first time, you will notice that Blueorganizer has gone ahead and added some preset bluemarks for you to look through. This is to give you an idea of what you can bookmark and how searching and sorting is handled. You will see that bluemarked books, movies, electronics, music, and even toys will contain images along with extra options to claim if you own the item, buy, search, and compare.
On the top right of every bluemark is a wrench. This wrench is what Blueorganizer calls a context action tool which enables you to instantly find, shop, compare things on the web. This is a very handy feature. Picture this: There is a book that you have been wanting to buy, but you aren’t sure about purchasing it yet. So you bluemark it and use the search and tag options to search about the book and the author with Google, Technorati, or even Odeo for podcasts. You then look for related books that you may like as well and use the tags search tool. After reading more on the book and related, you decide to buy it. You go back to the wrench and click on the compare option to find the best deal on the web for the book and order it.
Let’s now take a look at the search and sorting functionality of Blueorganizer which you see on the top of the organizer. The searching is very basic where you can select the type of bluemark or collection (bookmarks, books, electronics, movies, music, toys, and video games – soon to be more), filter by tags, or search by text with results appearing as you type. The search is pretty standard but what I found to be more interesting was the sorting options, or what I like to call, “Smart Sort.” Depending on the collection type you select from the list, the sort button (on the right of the collection drop down box) will have different options to sort by. For example, selecting the book collection allows you to sort your bluemarks by author, history, popularity, rating, title, and even the year of the book. Or another example, selecting the Video Games collection will allow you to sort by manufacturer, platform type, popularity, and more. The sorting options are flexible to the collection and that really helps you narrow down on items. Although one sorting option that I did not see was sort by date added to the collection, which I would love to see because like normal website bookmarks, I like to view what I most recently bookmarked.
I think we’ve got the basics of using the organizer covered. Now lets look at actually saving bluemarks to your organizer. To bluemark websites and products, simply click the browser bluemark button for Blueorganizer which will then bring up a popup to enter details for the bluemark. But before I continue onto actually saving the bluemark, I want to point out one small but helpful feature with the bluemark button and the Blueorganizer engine. The neat thing with the bluemark button is that when you come across a page that Blueorganizer detects and can successfully grab specific information from (using Microformats – Supported Sites), like a book title and image or music album, it will add a dark blue dot in the middle of the button to notify you. Otherwise, bluemarking a site when the button doesn’t have the dark blue dot will just act as a normal website bookmark.
When the popup appears when adding a bluemark, you will see that if Blueorganizer was able to parse the website and it detected it being a collection type (books, movies, electronics, etc.), the title, image, and tags will automatically be filled in for you. Blueorganizer makes it to the point where the only thing you have to do is… nothing but click “Ok.” The only thing that won’t be filled in for you is the rating and buttons stating that you own the product or not. Any data, including images, that Blueorganizer can recognize out of its supported sites will automatically be added to your bluemark so you don’t have to worry about it.
Last feature I want to talk about is registering an account for your Blueorganizer (completely optional). There are three benefits that I see when you signup. First, creating an account will automatically store all of your bluemarks online securely (using Amazon S3 Storage) in turn letting you automatically synchronize your collections between multiple computers by simply logging in to your account. Secondly, you can publish RSS feeds for your collections so friends and family can easily track what products you are thinking of getting or what products you recommend. Lastly, when publishing your collections, Blueorganizer allows you to add widgets, or Bluebadges, to your website so anyone can see the latest bluemarks you have saved – great for product specific websites. All these features with screenshots can be found in the features overview at Blueorganizer.
Overall, Blueorganizer, is probably one of the best Firefox extensions I have used because of how feature rich it is, although it’s not for everyone. It’s target is more toward users who like to organize books, music, and other things rather then the average web surfer, even though it does support normal bookmarks. My opinion would be to simply give it a try and see how you like it. As for problems, I only ran into one while using the extension and that was when bluemarking a normal website that has a very long address (ie: MapQuest or some blog posts), Blueorganizer would go ahead and add “%20″ (which means a space) in the address at certain points of the URL, in turn making the link broken. Other than that, no problems really. Another issue to Blueorganizer is that it is a Firefox only extension which leads me to agree with Mashable’s idea of having a public website that users can showcase and share their collections, like Kaboodle. But overall, Blueorganizer is a great extension that certainly helps with organizing products and websites online that anyone into keeping collecting should try.
For more, read Sid Yadav’s review of Blueorganizer.