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Despite the proliferation of social news sites like Reddit which aggregate popular content and social bookmarking sites like Delicious that archive it, social browsing still remains a largely open market. It’s in this market that Y Combinator-backed startup Socialbrowse seeks to make its niche.
Socialbrowse combines in page icons and the ubiquitous activity feed to add value to pages by emphasizing content shared by friends, and pushing content to the user they’re likely to find interesting.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the features available today as Socialbrowse leaves its 3 month private beta and goes public.
Sidebar – Users can use tabs in the sidebar to filter which types of feed items they wish to view, or to display them all at once. There’s also a "hot" tab that lets you track which content was most popular among your friends recently. The hot tab scores each feed item according to how many of your friends shared or discussed the link, then decrements the score over time to keep it fresh.
Site – Socialbrowse seeks to emphasize the most important content, providing separate tabs for each type of content each person has shared. This allows you to easily toggle between each user’s shared links, their comments, their messages, or to see them all at once. The search feature lets you recover any link or comment for each user (or yourself). The side menu shows user’s social points, their personal information, the users they are following, and their fans.
Enhanced, embedded icons (embed_and_hover.png) – Socialbrowse’s bread-and-butter feature is the in-page embedded icons, showing you what content your friends liked and how many of them liked it. Hovering over this icon shows a menu detailing which user(s) shared that link, and some of their other recent activity.
In-page commenting – The in-page commenting allows for users to toggle comments open and close in the top corner of the page, letting you quickly view all comments or submit your own.
Categories – In tandem with Socialbrowse’s filtering technology, categories allow you to set the categories you wish to receive or ignore.
Having used Socialbrowse for over a month, I’ve found that sharing content while browsing comes naturally, the conversations are more stimulating and varied than on sites like Digg where groupthink prevails, and the discovery aspect inherent to using the application is a great way to not just find interesting content, but to connect with interesting people.
Socialbrowse has gone a long way towards living up to Co-Founder Zachary Garbow’s stated goal of bringing "a novel, social aspect to every day web use," it’s going to take adoption for Socialbrowse to really live up to its full potential.
Rick Kenney is a sometimes contributor to CenterNetworks. You can find him online on Twitter.