Earlier this week, I received an email from Laurent Quérel, CTO at Yoono (good name!), canvassing opinions on the beta version of a free software application combining the management and sharing of information – part collaborative search engine and part communication tool. It works by indexing the internet bookmarks of its community of web users.

Given my recent laptop problems (see this week’s Virus nightmare), I was reluctant to download an unknown application to my machine, but I did test out the ‘Yoono search’ test facility. This looked quite promising.

I tried it with some obscure websites – extranet vendor sites, for example – but it didn’t find anything (it’s early days, and Yoono clearly needs to attract some significant traffic to become truly valuable), but if you enter, say, a newspaper site, you are presented with a list of similar links ranked by their popularity. French publications currently dominate the listings, but perhaps this isn’t surprising – in the absence of any contact information (an omission, Laurent), I suspect Yoono is based in France.

Yoono users (Yoosers surely?) can also be recognised as experts in their field if they publish folders of their favoured links on that topic. This facility, judging from the “Testimonials we made up”, can also be used to direct an expert’s contacts (a teacher’s students, for example – Yoof, maybe?) to specified web-pages. Once I have got all my laptop back-ups sorted out, I will be testing Yoono out. It runs on both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, so I will probably give it a go from Firefox.

One minor niggle: some of the website text, particularly in the FAQs, has misspelt words and poor grammar. Yoono should employ a native English copywriter and proof-reader to remove the errors and improve the text.

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