Shifd: A solution looking for a problem?

I have to say, I think it is very cool that a couple of Web developers who work for the New York Times came up with Shifd, a mobile app that lets you store links, notes and maps that are accessible from your regular browser or from a mobile device. That said, however, I still don’t see why I would use it (although to be fair, I’ve only played around with it a bit). To me, it looks like a solution in search of a problem.

The idea behind Shifd.com is that you sign up for the app, which uses Adobe’s AIR platform, and then you can store links to sites or news stories you want to visit or read later, and you can store notes, and you can send yourself maps or location-type information. Like Erick Schonfeld, I’m wondering why I wouldn’t just do those things either inside a mobile browser — using a bookmarking service such as del.icio.us, for example — or through a mobile app like Google Maps.

The other alternative, of course, as mentioned by a number of commenters at TechCrunch and elsewhere, is to just email yourself the link or the note. I regularly send myself emails that have certain keywords in them, knowing that I can search through Gmail quickly and find them. All I really need is a way to aggregate those easily based on keyword and feed them into something like Remember The Milk. And this looks like a cool example of what can be done with tags and del.icio.us.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Wagstaff of Loose Wire has some thoughts about how something like Shifd could be used by newspapers and others as an information delivery and/or storage mechanism. Maybe it does have its uses after all. It wouldn’t be the first app that was designed for one thing and wound up being used for something else.

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