The Clipboard, Reinvented For The Web

Have you ever found it difficult to share stuff you find online? Sure, there’s millions of social buttons across the ‘net to like, 1+, Tweet, and do just about anything else you can think of with the pages you read. But what if you want to, say, share a part of a page on Amazon.com with a friend to show them the a price and a picture of the thing you’re talking about? You could take a screenshot, but then you’ll have to still share a link to the site, and the text won’t be searchable. Or you could copy and paste the text, but then you’ll lose the picture, formatting, and more.

Clipboard is a new beta web app that aims to reinvent copy/paste for the web. It’s a surprisingly powerful tool that you can use to share anything you discover, embed stuff from any site on your pages, and save your favorite content safely. Here’s our first look at this innovative new way to clip and share web content.

Sharing the Actual Content You Discover

Clipboard is a unique tool that lets you clip exactly what you see on a page, then share it with others online or embed it into your site. All text, links, images, formatting, and more are preserved in the clip, so what you save and share will be exactly what you see in your browser. It’s great for sharing, but it’s also great for a personal bookmarking tool to keep up with the content you discover online. For now, it’s an invite-only beta, but you can get an invite fairly quickly by entering your email into the signup box.

Clipboard is in limited beta for now

Getting Started with Clipboard

Once you’ve got an invite, just signup for an account, and then add your clipboard bookmarklet to your browser so you can quickly save content anywhere. Bookmarklets have been around for years, but they’re still not very commonly used by most people. Clipboard tries to overcome this by telling you exactly how to add the bookmarklet to easily use it. The page is really nicely done, and even specifies the instructions to your OS and browser.

Add the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, the easy way

Now that you’ve got the bookmarklet added, you’ll still need to learn how to clip content. But don’t worry. Clipboard has a nice Tip page designed to let you try out the bookmarklet and learn at the same time.

Learn how to use Clipboard before starting on your own

Snipping and Sharing Content

Clipping the exact part of the page you want couldn’t be easier. When you find something you want to clip, just click the clipboard bookmarklet you added to your bookmarks bar. Now, click on the section of the page you want to share. Almost anything will work: a paragraph, sidebar, image with caption, video, and more. If you want to select more than just one part of a page, say a paragraph and a picture, just click and drag, and the blue selection box will expand to cover it. As a nice effect, the blue selection box feels very fluid and animates as it moves around the page.

Click the content you want, or click and drag to select more

Moments later, a popover box will open with your clipped content. Make sure it looks right, then you can add a comment, tags with a #, or @mention the name of another Clipboard user to share the clip with them. If you want to share your clip publicly, so any Clipboard user can find it in the global clip directory, then click the feed icon on the right of the text box. Once you’re finished, click Save and your clip will be stored in your Clipboard account.

Add a note, tags, or other people to your clip

Once you’re done saving your clip, you can clip more on that page, keep browsing the internet, or click the home button that Clipboard leaves on the page to go to your own Clipboard account. Here, you can get embed codes or links to share your clips, or you can browse through everything you’ve ever clipped. If you’re saving clips for your own use, then the search and tags features will help you rediscover everything just like other bookmarking apps such as Pinboard or Delicious. If you’re clipping to share, you can post clip links straight to social networks in one click.

View your clips, share or embed it, and search through everything you've clipped

Your shared content will look just like the original site, complete with the links, formatting, and more. My favorite feature was the option to embed content, making anything you see online something you could embed into your site. As an example, here’s a clip from Clipboard of the sidebar from Envato’s page on Wikipedia. It looks just like you would expect from Wikipedia, and even includes a link to the original page so you can see where the clip came from.

You’re Not the Only One Clipping

Best of all, Clipboard lets you automatically discover content that others are clipping that you may be interested in. You can follow specific users to see their public clips, or follow specific topics to automatically discover links and content about them. This is a great way to discover not just links, but the actual images and important parts of articles others tagged with your interests. With enough users, this could be a great way to find content relating to specific topics.

Discover content other Clipboard users have shared publically

Conclusion

Clipboard is definitely a unique app that makes copying and sharing or saving content much more native to the web. Apps like Cloud.app and other screenshot or image sharing tools only let us share static images, and often copying just the text isn’t enough. Even when it is, odds are your paste will turn out strange due to formatting differences, making it irritating to share content you come across.

With Clipboard, you won’t have to worry about it. You’re clipping the actual page and sharing exactly what you saw, and for the most part, it works great. We’re excited to see how this continues to shape up, and it’s got great potential for everything from reinventing bookmarking to making sharing or referencing sites much more natural. It’ll be neat to see how it continues to improve as it comes out of beta and gains more users!


Summary

Copy/Paste was designed for desktops. Clipboard is a new web app that reinvents the native clipboard for the web, letting you save and share the exact content you see.

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