Tagging for the desktop

Posted on August 7, 2007 11:47 am by | Tagging and Microformats

There is no doubt in my mind that tagging is going to grow in importance. It will become a dominant element of online search; I was not surprised to see the number of people confounded by changes to Techorati‘s interface, which made it more difficult to search by tag. Microformats will become more pervasive. Social bookmarking will grow in popularity. Tagging content, as you can on sites like Flickr and YouTube will become someething we can take for granted on any site that offers uploads.

So it makes perfect sense that we’re seeing the introduction of products that allow you to carry the tagging concept to your desktop. I’ve been playing with two of them, Taglocity and Attensa, both of which have considerable potential.

Both Taglocity and Attensa are Microsoft Outlook add-ins. Taglocity allows you to tag email messages for discovery later. It includes a tag cloud so you can simply click to your most commonly used tags. Your most commonly-used tags are also available in a toolbar. Several techniques are available to allow you to tag your email as well as to find emails you have tagged.

Shel Holtz

Outlook 2007 has vastly improved keyword search compared to earlier versions of Outlook, yet I still have found myself using Taglocity to find all the emails I have deliberately tagged a certain way. For example, emails from people discussing various aspects of my podcast don’t always include the name of the show, but tagging these emails “FIR” makes it drop-dead easy to retrieve them.

Taglocity offers a personal edition for free and a professional version for US $39 (there’s a 30-day free trial of the professional edition). The free version is for those who don’t use a lot of email (which wouldn’t include any readers of this blog, I suspect). A video demo does a nice job of explaining the features and how they work. I’ve been using the 30-day free trial, but plan to pony up the $39 once it expires.

Attensa is an Outlook-based RSS reader/aggregator. Since Outlook 2007 already supports RSS feeds, you might wonder why anybody would install an alternative. Not surprisingly, Attensa has done a better job with RSS than Microsoft has. Attensa is feature-rich, offering the ability to read feeds in a “river of news” style for either all your feeds or those within a folder. Any item can be tagged, and you can configure Attensa to automatically add tagged items from you feeds to your del.icio.us bookmarks, which I find to be an incredibly cool and useful feature. Attensa also handles downloads and plays videos and audio, so it can serve as a podcatcher. You can designate that audio and video files automatically get added to iTunes or Windows Media Player and put in an appropriate playlist.


Shel Holtz

I am running into one problem with Attensa: marking folders as read or deleting all items in a folder can take a long, long time, during which Outlook is unavailable. Version 2.5 is the first to support Vista, though, so I suspect this is a problem Attensa will iron out.

There are video demos that show how the various features work.

Attensa for Outlook is free (Attensa also makes fee-based enterprise RSS products); personalized support is $24.95 per year.

08/07/07 | 5 Comments | Tagging for the desktop



  • 1.Shel,

    Interesting I took a look at Taglocity to see how they were implementing tags in Outlook which seemed like an interesting approach. But the beta version for 2007 seemed very slow (even on a fairly meaty machine) and hung a lot.

    It's certainly an interesting approach to managing your e-mail, tasks etc.

    Hopefully they'll address those issues...


    Tom Murphy | August 2007 | Dublin, Ireland

  • 2.Hi Shel,

    I'm an investor in Attensa. I've forwarded your comments regarding Attensa for Outlook onto Charlie Davidson, the company's CEO. Someone will be contacting you shortly to discuss.

    Thanks for the review.
    Scott Quick

    Scott Quick | August 2007 | Portland

  • 3.Hi Shel,

    I'm adding my thanks for the coverage of Attensa. I'm doing some online blogosphere relations and other innovative PR work for them, which is proving to be great fun.

    I was pleased at Scott's (much more timely) response to your comment about slowing Outlook on Vista down disproportionately.

    I, too, will pass the word along to the team. Although I suspect they've already launched an internal investigation... they are rabid about using the technology and responding to issues quickly.

    I enjoyed meeting you last year in SFO at the ALI conference on blogging and social networking; and look forward to hearing your thoughts as you explore productive tools for this brand new world of communications...

    Janet Johnson | August 2007 | Portland, Oregon

  • 4.Shel

    thanks for sweet review of Attensa tagging.

    Try marking all your articles read or deleting your articles in the River of News instead of in Outlook. In the upper right corner of the River of News there are two icons - one will toggle articles between read and unread states and the other will delete articles. These can used across categories and individual feeds.

    I think this will solve your issue.

    I'd be happy to walk you through a web demo if that makes sense. email me at sniesen [at] attensa dot com

    Scott Niesen | August 2007

  • 5.Is there any new info out there about tagging? I love the tagging feature and would like to implement it for files on my computer so I can save one document with various tags.

    Christina | February 2008

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