The bookmarking battle heats up as productivity tool Clipboard opens for business

clipboardThe toolbar bookmarking extension has experienced something of a revolution thanks to Pinterest and its many, many offshoots. The art of clipping and saving to some sort of “board” for later use has become the jumping off place for a great many sites, some focusing on shopping, others inspiration, and yet others for organization.

That last distinction is where Clipboard comes in. The bookmarking and productivity application launched last fall into private beta, and now has taken the wraps off its project and made it available to the public. Clipboard is equal parts Pinterest and Evernote – and if that description sounds familiar, it’s because it’s exactly what we said about Springpad after its recent makeover. These services want to be like Dropbox and give users the ability to save, share, and compose in the cloud, but they want to do it with the style Pinterest has infused into the Web collection game.

What’s important to realize about these applications is that while they take some visual and design cues from Pinterest, the heart of their services lie in data and productivity. Pinterest is aspirational; Clipboard is organizational. Pinterest isn’t inherently about getting things done, and these sites are – or at least want to be.

public clipboards

While Clipboard has a variety of elements its competitors have, potential users looking for something like this might need help distinguishing between it and Springpad. The interface is similar to what we saw in the new Springpad: users create boards which the can designate as private or public or even allow collaboration on. Also like Springpad, there are some updated social elements so you can find and follow other Clipboard users. The two sites easily have the most in common out of the growing hoard of bookmarking-meets-organization services. As of April, Springpad had 3 million registered users, and while Clipboard hasn’t released these numbers yet, the company has said activity levels are encouraging.

Perhaps what sets Clipboard apart is not its user-facing product but how it’s trying to interact with developers. Clipboard has a developer tool allowing Websites to integrate the application into their site, so visitors can use Clipboard functionality and save an article or information on that page even without having an account. This larger use for the application could help it move beyond the basic single user clip+go system, but the bookmarking biz has become a surprisingly crowded one. Delicious’ near-death experience seemed to suggest that we were moving beyond this model, but for all its inherent faults, Pinterest pumped some new life into it. And now, the likes of Clipboard are ready to reapply it to their productivity clients.