The philosophy

“Tell me what you read and I shall tell you what you are.” is an anonymous proverb.

While I have no intentions to use to tell you who you are, the proverb highlights how important the information we consume is. Every day we take in a lot of information from a variety of sources. This information shapes our ideas, opinions and to some extent our personality. Given this fact, it is amazing that people don’t try to keep a better track of their information consumption.

I guess there are two reasons:

  1. Suitable tools have been missing.
  2. Because of the lack of tools, people haven’t really given its importance a thought. is aimed at solving this problem. I’ve tried to implement it so that it becomes a seamless part of users’ browsing activity. See something you find interesting or want to store for later reference – a single click of a button marks it, indexes it for you to search later on and even stores a copy of the page so that it will always be available even though the original page changes or becomes unavailable (so called linkrot). If the user wants, he or she can add more metadata about the page such as a comment, a custom title and a suitable category in a personalized hierarchy of categories, all efforts to help the user locate the information again later.

The conscious effort to mark something is important, as only a part of the abundance of information we consume is worth being able to track later on. The marked information thereby becomes a record of the consumption that the user rates as important or somehow significant.

While I’m not totally convinced that “personalized search results” are the holy grail some people claim it to be, I’m sure that most users will find it hard to imagine how they managed without being able to search the interesting part their own browsing history, once they’ve become accustomed to it.

With this record in hand, can also offer the user a lot of interesting value adds on top of the core “store & search” functionality mentioned above. The recommendations, syndication possibilities and the “spurl beam” (see: page, all mentioned features require login) only scratch the surface of a wide range of functionality that can and will be offered utilizing users’ spurl history. Some of these are already being built into and will be introduced in the coming weeks.

While these are all nice frills, I will try to keep focused on the main vision as detailed above. As before, all comments and suggestions are welcomed.

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As an end note, nicely portraying the importance of the information we consume, here are a few of the sources that inspired my implementation in the first place:


  1. Thanks for this entry, Hjalli–it’s really great to read such a simple, yet complete, description of your vision for Spurl. It also gives me a better understanding of its application in my every day surfing. I think this should be somewhere in an ‘about spurl’ section, as it’s an invaluable insight into the heart of Spurl.

  2. I know you probably don’t want tech issues on your blog but I have to tell you that in Firefox on XP the ‘advanced’ option when you spurl doesn’t create a large enough window to use it properly. You have to use the ‘highlight’ technique to move around.

    Keep up the good work though, you don’t really know how pleased I am that someone has developed this idea. I’ve been thinking about developing similar software for the last couple of weeks and then boom: a brief visit to K5 and there it is, already developed. I’m well chuffed. 😉 If you’re looking for any ideas I’ve got a couple of avenues to explore that would agree well with your spurling.

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