Listas Updates List-Making for Web 2.0

Loraine Lawson

One of my more endearing traits - and I'm 99.9 percent sure that's the term my husband would choose - is my love of lists. I make lists, lots of lists. Here's a list of some of my lists:

  • Lists of things to do today.
  • Lists of article ideas.
  • Lists of books I want to read.
  • Lists of places I want to visit.
  • Lists of things I want to do before I turn 40.
  • Lists of things I want to do before I die.

You get the idea. You may also think that "lists" should be singular, since it would make sense to have only one list of places to visit or things to do today - but that would imply I'm organized enough to find each list when I'm ready to add to it.


My husband, as he frequently reminds me, finds these lists on sticky pads, notebooks and slips of paper. But he only knows half the story - I also harbor a whole second world of digital lists stored in various places, including Lists of Bests, Remember the Milk and 43 Things.


My love affair with lists is nearly pathological, so you can imagine my unfettered joy when I read in Technology Review that Microsoft Live Labs has created a new Web 2.0 tool called Listas.


I'll give you one guess as to what Listas does. That's right - it makes lists. But not just boring, simple to-do lists. No, lists on Listas can include videos and images. They can be tagged, public or private, and they can be searched. I can share these lists with friends and - here's the best part - it includes a IE toolbar that allows you to grab things from Web pages - URLs, text, blog posts, comment posts, product listings, whatever - and add them to the list, their format still intact.


That means I can create cross-site shopping lists of things to buy, complete with links, pictures and reviews - and share that with Santa. Just in time for Christmas!


It's darn near enough to lure me away from Mozilla's Firefox. And it may yet be, though Google's Notebook does offer similar, though much more limited - much less list-like - functionality.


Oddly, Listas wasn't created to make to-do lists, but as a list tool that could aggregate the creator's contributions to online communities in one place, be searched, annotated and published. It's a natural extension for Web 2.0 - a function that nicely complements other Web 2.0 technologies: Imagine if you could add a public to-do list to project wikis and you could keep ordered, searchable lists of all your comments and reference that list instead of turning over your "content" to the owner of the blog, and so on.


And that's why it has far greater potential as a tool than your run-of-the-mill digital list tool. Right now, you can only preview the application, but at some point, you can bet it will be more widely integrated into other Microsoft products.


To which I say, "Hip, Hip, Hooray!"

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