Show Off Your Web Links

SAN FRANCISCO (03/30/2000) - You have a great collection of Web links. So good, in fact, that you're just dying to share them with your friends and colleagues.

How do you manage that?

Backflip, a free service for storing links to your favorite Web sites online, has added a new feature that might do the job.

It's called Show and Tell. You use it to post a page full of links, and then make a list of people who can access, comment on, and add to your collection of links. As you gather URLs on a particular subject, Show and Tell helps you share them with coworkers, clients, and students in an organized manner. As the work progresses, you can build an extensive list of pages that everyone can see and work with. Show and Tell will probably appeal most to researchers, such as teachers, lawyers, and scientists.

Backflip's basic service works like an online version of Internet Explorer's Favorites menu. You use it to store URLs, which you can organize into folders.

This allows you to access your list of URLs from any Web browser, not just from your own PC. And you can also perform indexed searches -- you can look for words specifically among the pages you've read and linked.

The new Show and Tell feature, which is available whenever you bring up one of your folders, provides another reason to store links online. To share your list, you simply enter the e-mail addresses of the appropriate people and add comments if you wish.

Backflip notifies these people by e-mail to let them know that they're on your list. They are also notified later when URLs are added. Your associates can add links to the folder themselves only if you have given them permission to do so and if they have signed up with Backflip themselves. (They do not need to sign up to access and comment on the links that you share with them.)Share, but Carefully So, what does this mean for your privacy? Your Favorites menu tells a lot about you, and posting it on the Web may cause concern for some people. Backflip takes privacy seriously and has clear policy statements posted on its site where you can't miss them. The company "promise(s) not to sell, rent, loan, or give away anything that identifies you personally to anyone without your permission." Even the people you list for sharing a particular folder can't see who else is on the list.

Of course, if you're really worried about security, you can pick and choose what links you place on Backflip, and keep the rest on your hard drive. Even if you don't keep all of your Web favorites on Backflip, Show and Tell makes it a great place to store URLs for a collaborative project.

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