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Friday, January 20, 2006

Add Notes to Any Page with MyStickies allows you to add post-it notes to any web page. To do so, you need to sign-up for an account and install the Firefox browser extension. After restarting the browser, you will find a toolbar on top including a “New sticky” button. Clicking it adds a yellow note on the page you’re on at the moment – e.g.,, a blog post, a wiki page, or any other page – and you can then start typing.

Note: if the installation is buggy for you too, just ignore the repeated dialogs, and be warned – your browser might crash (it did here).

Notes are automatically saved and you can access your notes from your MyStickies user page. This way, notes also serve as a bookmarking system. Additionaly, every note can contain tags.

A nice time-saving feature, especially for those who prefer to not clutter their browser with toolbars, is the ability to hold down the [Alt] key and select an area on any web page. Automatically, a note will appear.

I’ve added two stickies so far and can browse them in the MyStickies command center. Not all pages have ( screenshots.

MyStickies at the moment doesn’t allow you to share stickes – this is an important missing feature. I’m not sure how Jacob Wright and his MyStickies team (if there is one) aim to implement this – e.g. there might be problems with positioning stickies on pages which have centered content, or content that dynamically scales – but the site says there are plans to do so.

Now this isn’t the first application trying to add an annotation system to any web page to make it talk. Efforts to do so go back many years, and some faced the anger of webmasters who didn’t want to find their sites “vandalized.” Take a look at what Wired wrote on a service called Third Voice back in 2001:

“Eng-Sion Tan had an idea he believed would promote freer speech on the Internet.

In 1999, he and two colleagues launched Third Voice, a free browser plug-in that allowed Web surfers to annotate any site with their comments. (...)

But the seemingly innocuous “sticky notes” gained enemies quicker than users. Launching a grassroots campaign called Say No to TV, some 400 independent Web hosts banded together to gag Third Voice, which they likened to “Web graffiti.” (...)

On Monday, Third Voice posted a short message on its site, notifying users that the service had been discontinued.”

Let’s see what fate is in store for MyStickies. Browsers today have the Back button, the Print button, or the Reload button. A comment button may be one of the missing browser buttons of the future.

How’s this service trying to make money, you may ask? Jacob Wright in his blog writes:

“MyStickies is a free service and we will keep it free. However, it costs a lot of money for us to keep it up, and there are several ways in which we could fund it to pay for servers, bandwidth, etc. The most attractive way would be to offer additional services for a price, above that of the basic free account.”

Jacob also ponders selling a stickies tool to webmasters for a monthly fee. “Something that users [would] see and optionally can use too without an account. This would be a wonderful tool for web development companies for prototyping and letting clients post feature requests on their development site.”

[Via Digg.]


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