Tappity = Mobile Del.icio.us?

 Tappity Home Page Tappity is a new mobile social bookmarking site. This is a genre that didn’t exist a year ago and now has at least four players, WapTags (review), Mobleo (review), Mopitopia (review) and now Tappity.com (mobile – mobile.tappity.com).

Unlike the other three, with Tappity you do all your tagging from your desktop browser, there is no way to tag or bookmark from the mobile site. I think mobile tagging is an essential feature. I want to be able to tag mobile sites from the PC occasionally, but mobile site discovery is best done on a mobile. Many sites that use browser detection won’t even deliver a mobile page to a desktop browser.

I tried creating a bookmarklet so I could tag from Opera Mini but it doesn’t work. When Tappity detects a mobile browser trying to access any page of the PC site, including the submit form, it redirects to the mobile site’s front page. The bookmarklet works fine with a desktop browser, if you want to try it drag this link (Add to Tappity) to your browser toolbar.

Two special Tappity features are extensible location based search and the ability to specify mobile optimization on a link by link basis.

  • Tappity’s search box has a drop down where you choose your search engine from Google Local, Yelp, Tappity or Wikipedia. You can save your current Zip Code with Tappity and it will be passed to Google Local and Yelp. It’s even possible to add any search engine that accepts the search string and optionally the zip code as get parameters. User added search engines are shared by default and you can search Tappity to find and add them to the search engine dropdown.
  • The transcoding feature means that you can specify that you want Tappity to transcode a site for better mobile usability – if you want to browse a full web page on a typically limited mobile browser you just tell Tappity to “Mobify” it .

 Tappity Find More Mobile Things PageThe web side of Tappity looks very nice, although it still has some minor beta usability issues. But it does get the job done once you learn its quirks.

The Tappity mobile site presents a clean interface with the search box, your personal links and below that the intriguingly named “Find More Mobile Things” link which leads to the social aspect of the site. This is where you find links grouped by most viewed, random, popular tags and recently added. Users can also report sites as Spam, Not Mobile, Broken, Duplicate or “Don’t Like” – is that the equivalent of Digg’s bury? There seems to be a user driven star rating system although I can’t figure out you rate a site.

Tappity’s transcoder is a mixed bag. On the one hand it does a great job with RSS and Atom feeds, creating a nice mobile friendly index page with links to each item. But for big web pages it doesn’t do very much to reduce page size, pages aren’t split and images aren’t resized on the server. A 900KB Gizmodo home page after going through the Tappity transcoder is still a wap-browser-choking 700KB. The Google transcoded version of Gizmodo is split into 5 or more pages averaging between 10 and 30 KB depending the capabilities of the browser it detects. I wasn’t able to log into my.yahoo.com through the transcoder either.

Rather than trying to develop their own transcoder, I’d like to see Tappity do a mashup with the Google and/or Skewezer transcoders. Those two market leading transcoders split pages and resize images on the fly and also do a good job with feeds. I think the ability to selectively mobilize links is a great feature but the current transcoder is inadequate. Maybe there are licensing issues with using Google or Skweezer, but all that Tappity would be doing is making it easier for users to create bookmarks to the 3rd party transcoder. The end result is just a hyperlink, no different than if the user keyed say; www.google.com/gwt/n?u=https://wapreview.com into the Tappity submit form.

In my opinion, social bookmarking is something that is really going to take off in the mobile space. The mobile web is growing rapidly in sites, buzz and users. It’s inevitable that users will want to be able to do the mobile equivalent of a del.icio.us tag or a Digg. However, I don’t think any of the four mobile social bookmarking sites I’ve seen quite have the secret sauce to make mobile social tagging happen on a grand scale. There are three things I want to see in a mobile del.icio.us:

  • To be able to create, tag, edit, browse and search my links and public links from the PC and from the phone with an interface that works well on both platforms.
  • To be able to post links using a bookmarklet from Javascript capable mobile browsers like Opera Mini or perhaps the equivalent functionality using a proxy.
  • No degradation of the browsing experience if using a proxy. Sites should work as well with the proxy as without it.

Each of these sites take a different approach, but none quite get it right for my taste. WapTags and Mobleo use a proxies that modify each page by adding a link to the bottom  Tappity - Most viewedthat lets you tag the current page. This gives bookmarklet-like functionality with any browser but both sites proxy’s throw errors on a significant percentage of pages. With Mopitopia, there’s no proxy, and bookmarklet’s don’t work consistently. You can only tag from the phone by typing or pasting the page url into the tag form. WapTags has no desktop interface and doesn’t let you enter arbitrary urls, you have to use the WapTags search engine to find and Tag sites. And Tappity doesn’t let you tag from the mobile site at all. For now, I’m using del.icio.us for mobile tagging. It’s workable, if a bit unwieldy, using Opera Mini and a bookmarklet.

There’s much to like about Tappity. I really want to use a mobile equivalent of del.icio.us. All Tappity really needs to get me to switch is to provide a way to tag from the mobile phone, including tagging via a bookmarklet on supporting browsers. A better transcoder would be nice but isn’t essential to me as Opera Mini does a better job than any transcoder.

Do you use a mobile social bookmarking site? If so which one and why? Do you think tagging from the mobile is essential? What features are important to you? Comments are open and welcome.

Tappity: xHtml-mp

Features: **** Usability: ****

Update 4-Mar-2007: I got an email from Scott Robbin,  a developer with Tappity.  Scott is going to make some changes soon to allow bookmarking from Opera Mini and other mobile browsers that support bookmarklets.  Also, Scott pointed out that user submitted searches are shared by default (I had said they aren’t).