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Clipmarks: Tiny nibbles of Web content

Web pages too big and clumsy for you? Clipmarks let you bookmark just words.

Clipmarks, a Web bookmarking service, launches its 2.0 version today. Previously, the service made it possible to snip paragraphs and pictures from Web pages and save them. Today, the service launches its new, supergranular version, which lets you clip out sentences or phrases--or, if you want to be silly about it, single words or letters.

Clipmarks' on-demand browser toolbar

The service is based on a Firefox or IE plug-in, and the new version's UI is improved: It replaces the four buttons the last version had with one. It's very easy to use. Clipmarks also makes it easy to e-mail a clipping to a friend, or to blog a passage--or several--from a page. All Clipmarks passages are linked to their online sources, which is an improvement from simply copying and pasting text into an e-mail or blog.

Clipping sentences and paragraphs. CNET Networks

Clipmarks could be very useful for anyone researching a topic. Bookmarking a collection of passages and pictures from a variety of Web pages, as opposed the pages themselves, could be just what you need when you're working on a report or trying to collect information before making a big purchase. Clipmarks gives you a nice Web page where it saves your clippings.

In many ways, Clipmarks competes with other clipping services such as Jeteye (which I like a lot) and Diigo (which is capable, but complex). The new version also lets you grab YouTube videos, although not in a Clipmark-y way. You can't bookmark or save a portion of a video.

There's a Digg-like element to Clipmarks, as well: You can flag passages as public, and they'll show up on Clipmarks.com. Visitors to the site can "pop" marks they like, which is similar to Digg voting: Popped items stay on the front page longer. There are a lot of social bookmarking sites on the Web, and Clipmark's granular clipping feature is not different enough to make the site fundamentally more useful or relevant than others. It is, however, just as good a time-waster as Digg, Reddit, or StumbleUpon.

There is one thing about Clipmarks that really bugs me, though: You can easily clip and save content to Clipmarks and then e-mail or blog it, as I said above. But once you leave the page you've highlighted clippings on, they vanish. To me, that's like having a highlighter with disappearing ink, which is not really what one expects: You highlight some text, turn the page, turn it back, and presto! your highlights are gone. I'd like the option to make Clipmark highlights persistent. Annotation services such as Stickis and Trailfire do this, but they're designed for a different purpose.

Update (per Talkback): The Scoble Show has a video interview and demo with Clipmarks co-founder Eric Goldstein.