I wrote about del.icio.us in the enterprise a little while ago and how using del.icio.us for internal bookmarks could give competitors insight into developments that should, perhaps, be kept secret. One of the comments I received about that post was from Puneet Gupta, the CEO of Connectbeam urging me to check out his company’s offering. I have finally done that! I think the best introduction to Connectbeam is this demonstration Puneet did for Robert Scoble on the Scobleshow:
Two things occurred to me as I watched the demonstration. The first thing was how similar Connectbeam is to del.icio.us and the second was how different it is. Ok, not exactly my most profound statement but I am sure you know what I mean. The similarities include being able to bookmark something of interest using a form in the Connectbeam app. You can describe the thing being bookmarked, tag it with your own tags or recommended tags (or both) and share that bookmark with others. You can also search for other bookmarks with using tags.
You can add bookmarks using a bookmarklet (Puneet mentioned that Connectbeam supports Firefox and Internet Explorer – I would imagine it also supports Safari and the other bigger browsers?). Doing so brings up a form pretty much the same as the form I see when I add a link to del.icio.us in Safari where you can type in the details of the page you are bookmarking.
Where Connectbeam parts ways with del.icio.us is where it is clearly intended to be for internal use only. You have to be logged in to use Conenctbeam and you have to have been specifically invited to share bookmarks created by someone else or at least be part of the same organisation (unless I am missing something). Unlike with del.icio.us where anyone can see whatever has been shared, the same is not true with Connectbeam which uses different levels of access. If you are concerned about security and privacy within your organisation then this is one way to go.
As Mike Arrington at TechCrunch pointed out, more differences between del.icio.us and Connectbeam include the ability to revoke users’ permission to view certain bookmarks and the fact that you can only create an account using a business email account (so users of commercial email services like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! need not apply). The service is a paid service with different fees depending on the number of users. When Arrington reported the story Connectbeam was only charging for more than 5 users. I am not sure if that is still the case though.
The basic idea here is really the same as del.icio.us and I don’t think that should be a surprise. The concept of social bookmarks is pretty straightforward and it is really more the implementation that distinguishes one service from another. I like the Connectbeam offering and if the security options are important to you then take a closer look.