As the Internet grows, finding content that's relevant to you becomes tougher. Sure, there's your basic Web search and then there's aggregation, similar to what Google and Yahoo do with news headlines. But another form of information discovery is starting to gain some momentum: curation.
Just about a year ago, I wrote a post about a French company called Pearltrees, which was just launching a service that was best described as bookmarking, but with a social twist. The idea is simple, really. When I come across something on the Web that interests me, I "bookmark" it in Pearltrees. When someone else puts that same URL into Pearltrees, we're connected - not like friends on Facebook or a follower on Twitter, but simply as two individuals who shared an interest in a specific topic. And if there's something else in that other person's Pearltree that's similar in topic, I would be able to see it.
Today, at the LeWeb conference in Paris, the company is launching Pearltrees Team, a collaboration tool that takes the curation concept and brings it to a group that may be working together on a common topic - something as critical as medical professionals gathering information on a specific disease to something fun like collecting information about local restaurants or attractions for an upcoming conference.
CEO Patrice Lamothe said that in the year that the company has been around it has grown to 6 million monthly page views and about 4 million pages curated. It didn't seem like such a big number to me but Lamothe explained that the quantity of the pages in Pearltrees is less important than the quality of the content. The value of curation, he said, is the ability to add and delete pages.
After all, if you're looking for quantity, you can simply do a Google search and sift through the hundreds of items that are returned in the query results to find the most relevant. Or you can start curating content into Pearltrees and possibly find others with common interests who have also been curating.
"The quality of the database is much more important than a number," Lamothe said.