In one of the posts featured in last week’s Carnival of the Mobilists, Justin Oberman at mopocket did a nice write up of an ambitious new mobile site from mPulse called WapTags that combines personal homepages, a mobile rss aggregator, social tagging, chat, SMS and classified adds. Justin did a fine job of explaining WapTags so I won’t repeat what he said. If you haven’t used WapTags, go read Justin’s piece and give it a try. I’ve added it to the YesWap.com mobile directory under Search|Web/Wap Search to make it easy for Yeswap users to find. There’s also a good interactive demo of WapTags on mPulse’s site.
The web and news search part of WapTags is very similar to a concept Charlie Schick wrote about on Lifeblog some time ago in a piece entitled A website, wrapped in a transcoder, inside a browser. When you follow a link in WapTags, the page you see is rendered using WapTags’s proxy. Unlike in Charlie’s proposal the proxy doesn’t do any transcoding – it doesn’t need to because WapTag’s search only finds mobile sites. What the proxy does do is add two links to the bottom of every page from the remote site. One link just takes you back to WapTags but the other lets you tag the page. Wow, this is the mobile equivalent of a del.icio.us or digg bookmarklet. The images should make it clear how this looks. The first image shows the cnet mobile site as it normally appears while the second image shows the same site as it appears in WapTags with the two links. Pretty unobtrusive and very powerful.
My own experience with WapTags is that it has great potential although it still has that beta quality of not being quite finished. The main thing I’m missing is that I’d like to be able to tag any site – not just the ones WapTag’s search can find. You can search for sites and feeds and tag the ones you like from within the search results, however you can’t tag an arbitrary URL like you can with del.icio.us. The search engine seems to work pretty well most of the time but if it doesn’t find the site you want to add you’re out of luck. Justin liked WapTag’s rss feed reader, and indeed it works well with the mopocket site. However with Wap Reviews’s feeds, when you click on an item WapTags only displays the item’s description and then stops without showing the full content (my feeds are full feeds, BTW). Finally, I’m no prude but to those who are, WapTags’s “safe search” filter doesn’t seem to work. Regardless of whether it’s on or off, even innocuous searches like “Nokia financial report” turn up plenty of adult material.
I think that the mPulse team have a very powerful and addictive new mobile web paradigm in WapTags. In addition to the easy bookmarklet-like tagging, the classifieds with SMS followup and the forthcoming “missed connections” feature are unique to the mobile web as far as I know. There’s so much good stuff in WapTags. I can see this really taking off.
WapTags: xhtml-mp Features: Usability:
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Thanks for the write-up, Dennis. If anyone has questions, don’t hesitate: paul at mPulsemedia dot com.
P.S. The safe search is a lot better. Whew! Also, we’ll add the “dah” feature to ad your own links, and broaden the resources we search.