Since we blogged on free search engine tools 9 years ago, major developers such as Adobe, Google, Apple and Microsoft and others, migrated selected web creation and content creation functionalities into browser applications. This Free Web Tools section has expanded its focus to SEO tools which we'll cover with an update on Yahoo's switch from My Web to Delicious, changes to Google Blogger, and successors to Google Desktop.
In 2011, a quantum shift accelerated as applications migrated from inside individual PCs and enterprise servers to the cloud platform and new tools emerged.
The iPad introduced in 2010 ushered tablets into the consumer market. 2011 was a watershed year as smartphones, tablets and laptops encroached on desktop computers, and enterprises prepared for the coming migration to cloud-based computing. As IDC analysts noted in 2011: "The cloud has enabled the work-anywhere mentality. It will create tens of millions of applications and spawn an explosion of new services, including mobile apps, social technology and analytics/big data". With the coming of cloud-based storage and computing, digital content creation fundamentally grew independent of the limitations of physical memory and CPU power.
When we first looked at Yahoo's My Web, it had launched in 2005 as a bookmarking website that allowed users to bookmark websites with a brief description for themselves, selected others folks, or for everyone. Searchable tags were added so that others could also view the bookmarked website. Yahoo later introduced an improved Bookmarks! service, to be used with My Web, but by 2011, MyWeb was shut down and Yahoo encouraged its users to migrate to Delicious for social bookmarking.
Delicious (formerly Deli.icio.us), is among the most popular of the social bookmarking web services. It's for storing and sharing websites that you think are interesting and worth sharing, and for discovering websites that others have liked and shared. The "hotlist" on the Delicious home page and the list of recent pages bookmarked help you to track Internet memes (striking images with bold, clever captions), and the latest trends. You can also just explore stacks of related websites by navigating the categories like Art & Design, Education, etc. Beginners can import bookmarks from a web browser to quickly get started, and their imported bookmarks are private by default. However, since the purpose of Delicious is to share interesting websites widely, the published bookmarks and stacks by default are public. Some other social bookmarking websites you might like are Pinboard, Google Bookmarks, and Reddit.
Google tools had introduced its Blogger, a simple to use web tool that allows users to write on any topic that they wish, and then publish and interact with readers. What's changed since then is the addition of more features that make your blogs adaptable to SEO and webpage analytics as well as making it easier for your readers to click on additional articles to read. In describing the updated tools, the Blogger team helpfully notes: "To make managing pages easier, we redesigned the 'Pages' tab in the Blogger dashboard to make it look and feel more like something you're already familiar with: managing posts." The new design allows you to view important details about your pages like comments and the number of times the page was viewed, to manage multiple pages at once, and easily see whether pages are in draft, imported, or published states.
Linking to your pages is done by inserting Pages Widget using the Layout UI which lets you visually arrange your blog webpage. You add, remove, and edit gadgets such as Header, Navigation pages, Blog Posts, etc., by clicking and dragging. Use multiple Pages Widgets to link different pages from different areas of the layout. For a Horizontal list of blog pages, add a Pages Widget under the Header section. Add a Pages Widget to a side column for a vertical list. To configure the page list, click "+ Add external link" at the top of the "Pages to Show' list. A dialog box lets you input the Page title and web address or URL to be redirected to.
We'll talk more about Google Desktop's successors in Part 2 of this article where we discuss the leading Windows, Mac, and cross-platform apps that have stepped in as today's solutions to keeping track of work that increasingly resides on desktops, smartphones, tablets and in the cloud.