iWeavr calls itself an innovative search and share tool and promises to minimise your surfing time and maximise your results. That is a tall claim to make and definitely raises the expectations. So, does it manage to deliver? I decided to find out.
iWeaver works through a bookmarklet and should work in almost all browsers. However, I haven’t tested it on any browser other than Firefox and Opera. Installation is as simple as bookmarking this link and adding it to the personal bar (bookmarks toolbar in case of Firefox). Being a bookmarklet has its own advantages. One thing I loathe about other similar add-ons is the fact that they are always active – even when I don’t need them. They eat up screen real-estate and invariably become annoying after a short while. However, iWeavr springs into action only when you require it. Just click on the iWeavr button and it will be loaded.
iWeavr’s functionalities can be grouped into two categories:
Discovery: The official description of iWeavr (as a search tool) is slightly misleading, since it doesn’t actually allow you to do any searching. iWeavr is better described as a discovery tool. It displays dozens of websites with similar content as well as other webpages which links back to the webpage you are viewing. This is a handy way to discover relevant and interesting new websites and would please the information junkies. iWeavr also assists you in discovering more content from the currently opened website. It automatically spiders the website’s RSS feed and displays excerpts of the latest articles.
Sharing: iWeavr makes sharing websites a breeze with its excellent Facebook and Twitter integration. Its Twitter applet even includes an in-built link shortener (bit.ly). If you prefer to do things the old fashioned way, you will be pleased to learn that iWeavr also includes e-mail support. To make things even easier for you, iWeavr also provides quick access to all your contacts through Plaxo.
The concept of iWeavr is fascinating and it really had the potential to be an outstanding add-on. However, there are a few shortcomings in their execution which holds them back.
The algorithm works reasonably well but could do with some improvements. In most of the cases a large number of backlinks displayed are from the same site. This may be intentional, but I would prefer being shown only external backlinks. The related links tab fared much better and almost always returned relevant links. However, the related links feature becomes really useful, when you are browsing an obscure or a less popular website. I tried it on MobileCrunch.com and the top four results were Gizmodo.com, Engadget.com, TechCrunch.com and BoyGeniusReport.com. Don’t get me wrong – all of these are relevant results and the algorithm deserves compliment for this. However, I was already aware of all the suggested websites. Hence, I didn’t really discover anything. On the other hand it returned TechTipsBlog.com, OnlineTechTips.net, MakeUseOf.com and Geeks.com while I was surfing OnlineTechTips.com. In this case 2/4 websites were relatively less popular, yet useful.
iWeavr is not perfect – it does have some minor issues. In spite of that, it is both fun and useful. It’s quick and easy to install and doesn’t get in your way. If you are an information junkie, you will probably fall in love with it. Give it a try and don’t forget to let us know what you think.