Remember books? Those hard or soft bound bunch of pages which go so well with a warm blanket or a cup of coffee on a rainy day? Well, they still exist (thankfully) even as eBooks march confidently down the high streets of our consciousness. If I have to give eBooks thumbs up for one thing, it is that the digital form of a book makes it dead easy to share such snippets or words of wisdom. Yes, you can even highlight sections in Technicolor and not worry about spoiling the ‘page’.
Well, the tool we are going to discuss here doesn’t come with a yellow highlighter pen, but it does come with something even more powerful – a browser extension that lets you collect, share, and discuss worthwhile clips from the web or an eBook on the Amazon Kindle.
‘Findings’ to Read and Share
Finding things to read and share is never a problem on the web these days. But finding things to that you would love to read is somewhat a problem (sometimes). Findings.com solves both problems.
Findings.com is a reading and sharing web service which comes armed with a bookmarklet. The browser tool gives you one-click power to select and clip any share-worthy piece of text and share it from the web or your Amazon Kindle. As we are talking about the Amazon Kindle, it is safe to presume that most of the clips that get shared have to do with books, news, and magazines.
Kindle is the only supported eBook reader as of present, though the site says more reading platforms could be supported soon. You need to sign-up (free) and drag the bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar; the free account gives you the space to manage and organize all your shared clips. When you go to Your Highlights on The Amazon Kindle page, Findings will imports your existing Kindle highlights and notes. You can of course, choose to make them public (default) or keep them as private.
Installing the Chrome Extension and Capturing Clips
As I use Chrome, I am going with the Chrome extension. Others can use the browser bookmarklet. There is no change in functionality as you go about capturing clips. You can capture clips from anywhere on the web and keep them archived in your Findings account. For instance, you can easily go about clipping great quotes you find on the web or a passage you want to save from an eBook you are reading. The other source as I mentioned before are what you highlight while reading a book on Kindle or its various reader apps.
The browser extension is way cooler – Click on the Findings extension and then highlight the part which you want to clip.
You can also click on Customize to personalize it with several templates as you can see in the screen below. All your highlights will be synced automatically.
As you can see, you can do several things like send the clip to Instapaper, open the original in Readability, or just go to the original source. The controls just below the clip allow you to toggle the privacy and share the clip among all available options.
Get started with collections by collecting three clips for the featured collection that takes center stage on your profile page. Use the collection button to create specialized groups of highlights. The instructions say that you can also ‘choose a collection template to show your collection off in the best possible light’. But I couldn’t see the technique to do that. Also, the collection creation process was a bit hit and miss for me as I got it right after several tries.
Discovering Clips worth Exploring Further
For me the real value of Findings comes from the exploring interesting clips by opening the Explore tab on the side of the stream. You can also use the Search bar on top to search through all clips by keyword and then using the clips as jumping off points to read the original source. Reading interesting content like this can be a time sponge or a productivity killer as you can get sucked into what people are sharing while on their Kindles or on the web.
Why Should You Give Findings A Tryout?
Findings.com for me is an interesting application because it connects me to people and their thoughts while they are reading an eBook and highlighting something. Any book lover will tell you that it is almost a sub-conscious process, and we love to share something that provokes our thoughts. Findings takes that and the meta-data with it and places it all on a social feed for reading.
Try out Findings.com and tell us about the clip that made you click on it and discover the book or source from where it came.