3 Ways to Improve del.icio.us Search

Despite the existence of dozens of competing services, del.icio.us remains the standard for bookmark storage for many web workers – if only because it’s been around so long that we’ve accumulated hundreds or thousands of bookmarks there. But one of the big annoyances of del.icio.us is its rather lackluster search feature: you can search for text in the title or tags of your bookmarks, but if you only remember a word or phrase from somewhere in the page, you’re out of luck.

Fortunately, third parties have stepped into this hole with their own solutions. At this point, I know of three ways to get full-text search across your del.icio.us bookmarks. One caution: if you try testing these in quick succession, and you have lots of bookmarks, you’re likely to have your API access throttled by IP address.

deliGoo - Delicious Search Engine -  (Build 2008070206)deliGoo has been around the longest of the three, and it solves the problem by mashing together two web worker favorites: Firefox and Google. Specifically, after installing the deliGoo Firefox extension, you’re able to create Google custom search engines that go across your bookmarks, or everyone’s tags, looking into the page text. It works, though I find the whole process to be a bit clunky compared to the alternatives.

DelishDelish, which we’ve discussed before, is a dedicated OS X client for del.icio.us. Now out of beta, it provides excellent client-side support by thumbnailing your bookmarks. It’s also added “smart bundles”, ways to get your own page groupings on the client without changing things on the server. But along with this, it just does the right thing – searching full text – when you use the delish search box. Apparently tag management is planned for a future release; when that hits, this is going to be an even sweeter application.

delizzy - del.icio.us Bookmarks Search Engine - Searching ffmike's delicious bookmarks. -  (Build 2008070206)del.izzy is the latest I’ve run across in this arena, and it’s a pure web application. You sign in with your del.icio.us credentials, and it uses Google to search across all of your (and only your) bookmarks, including text. It has fewer features than the other two solutions, but it’s the easiest one to use without having to install anything.

Of course, there are other alternatives – like dumping your bookmarks into EverNote or another application oriented around full-text indexing – to retrofitting this capability to del.icio.us. But if you’ve got a built-up library of bookmarks, any of these applications will make it more accessible to you.