Bookmarked sites are represented by circular thumbnails called “pearls.” These can then be dragged around and arranged into a branching hierarchy or “tree.” Pearls can be added while browsing via a Firefox plugin or a bookmarklet. Browsing a tree and placing pearls runs smoothly and it’s an enjoyable experience.
Things get interesting as my pearls begin to co-inside with others’ pearls. A pearl will flash blue when another user adds the same link and orange when a pearl receives a new comment. In time, one gets a visual impression of bookmarks popularity and attention. As another links to my pearls, tracing back through their trees offers new discoveries and taxonomies I wouldn’t have arrived at on my own. This is not an experience exclusive to PearlTrees, but I believe the representation offers something different.
As well, users can rearrange bookmarks at the directory level, copying branches wholesale from each other. For example, I have a “CMSs” branch that has been frequently plucked.
Twitter integration is also available. Showing concern for those wary of applications that make automated Twitter announcements, settings can be adjusted to only tweet a branch when it hits five or ten pearls and tweets are limited to one per hour. Possibly more useful is the function that creates pearls out of any links one tweets. Using a hashtag automatically categorizes a pearl into a branch of the same name. Beyond a personal Twitter account, it could be interesting to set up an exclusive Twitter feed that announces updates to a collaborative directory project built through PearlTrees.