When you spend a lot of time online, you'll inevitably come across too many great things to keep track of.
If you've been in this situation before, looking for something you saw somewhere online, you'll love these three tools. Each one offers a different take on collecting your personal information and content you share online into a searchable database.
egoArchive: Everything you see online
egoArchive focuses on everything you read or look at online. It works as an in-depth, searchable dump-bucket of every site you visit.
egoArchive collects your data in two different ways. Connecting your Twitter, Facebook and Delicious accounts allows your activity on these services to be archived. Browser extensions are also available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. With the browser extension installed, egoArchive can see and archive all of the pages you visit.
Before you decide this is a little too close to an invasion of privacy, there are some safety measures in place. By default, no pages with a secure connection (https://) will be archived, nor will any pages visited while you are using your browser's incognito mode. There's also a blacklist feature, which lets you add any URL that you don't want to be archived.
So, once you've got your accounts connected and your browser extension is up and running, you can use egoArchive to search through your data.
Searching can be as simple or complex as you like. As well as entering keywords into the search box, you can sort your results by relevance or date, and choose which services to search: web history, Delicious, Facebook and/or Twitter.
Each search result will show a thumbnail of the site, a link and description, and the date and time you viewed it. You also have the options of deleting a result or saving it to favorites, searching only that domain and sharing the link with friends.
egoArchive is the perfect tool to find blog posts you've read online, status updates from Twitter or Facebook, or news articles that you can only vaguely remember. With the comprehensive search options, it can make finding items much faster than a traditional search engine.
egoArchive is currently in private beta, but the founders have been kind enough to offer an invite code for Social Media Examiner's first 50 readers. Just click this invite link to sign up!
Memolane: Everything you share online
Memolane takes a more personal approach to archiving by focusing on items and content you share online. Known as “the timeline of your life” or “the scrapbook that writes itself,” Memolane is all about organizing and curating the content and updates you are already sharing online.
Here's a short video to introduce the service:
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Memolane offers connections to many social media accounts, from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Instagram. For each account that you connect, you can choose a separate privacy setting—private, public or “friends only.” Your updates are then pulled into a “lane,” where they are organized by date.
Within a lane, each “memo” (or update) can be viewed specifically, with options to share, change privacy settings and add or remove the memo from your lane. Links in your memos are preserved, so you can revisit links you have shared previously.
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In addition to pulling all of your updates into one searchable feed, Memolane offers a similar service for Storify, by allowing you to create separate lanes around specific themes or events. You can then search or browse these lanes, which are limited to updates you have chosen.
Memolane is a useful tool to search through updates you have posted and shared. If you like looking back over your activity online, this is a great way to do so, by pulling in updates from many (or all) of your social profiles. Creating separate lanes is a handy feature if you want to curate updates relating to an event, project or short time period.
Memolane accounts are free and you can start building your lane by visiting the sign up page.
Greplin: Everything that's yours
Unlike Memolane and egoArchive, Greplin isn't limited to your public updates and activity. Greplin works like Memolane, in that you need to connect the accounts you want to archive before it indexes all of your content. Available connections include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Gmail.
Once your services have been added, Greplin will create an index of all of your content, including private items like emails. You can then search separate services, file types or everything at once.
Searching for content is a quick process. A drop-down box offers each of your accounts to be searched, as well as result types, such as links, events, messages and people. For a quick search of everything, you can leave this set to “all.”
Search results are separated into categories, making it easy to find what you are looking for. Each category shows the first three results with options to show more, each result linking to the original content. Greplin's clean and simple layout makes it easy to interact with the search functions and find items quickly.
Integration is a highlight of Greplin, which adds optional search functions to your standard Gmail search bar, and offers browser extensions to search on the go. For a comprehensive search of your public and personal content, as well as items shared on your social networks, Greplin is a winner.
Bonus: Trunk.ly and the future of Delicious
When I began this post, I had planned to highlight one of my favorite archiving apps, Trunk.ly, which Social Media Examiner briefly mentioned in a previous post. Trunk.ly archives all status updates you share online that include links. It's a fantastic (and passive) way to collect the links you share on social networks and find them again later.
Unfortunately, Trunk.ly is no longer accepting new sign-ups, and will close in the next two months. The good news is that it has been acquired by AVOS, the new owners of Delicious.
So hopefully this means that Delicious will soon offer a similar service. If you already have a Delicious account, I recommend keeping an eye out for this, as it has come in handy many times for me in the past.
What are your thoughts on archiving your online activity? Is it a handy service, or an invasion of privacy? Do you use another tool to back up and search your content? Let us know by leaving your questions and comments in the box below.
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