I was testing Zemanta today on this blog (WordPress).
That’s a Firefox add-on that “Have your browser understand what you are blogging about and suggest pictures, links, articles and tags to make your posts more vibrant” (from the Zemanta site).
All you have to do to install the add-on is click the download button at their site and install the plugin in your Firefox browser. Zemanta works with WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Typepad.com, and self-hosted WordPresses from version 2.0 onwards.
Whenever you’re writing a new blog post, Zemanta kicks in after typing about 300 characters and saving your post first. It shows at the top right hand side of your ‘Write’ area and it allows for a manual update.
Zemanta does a contextual comparison of the text in your post and image titles, image descriptions and the articles where the images were used in originally.
Zemanta also suggests article links, which they retrieve from their own database, where they index around 300 top media sources and numerous blogs of their users.
Next, this add-on provides you links, shown just below your ‘Write’ area, but most of them point to the Wikipedia site. I also found links to WordPress, Blogger.com and Firefox.
And finally, Zemanta also suggests tags just below the Tags box. My guess is they take them from the suggested articles, but I’m not sure.
I wasn’t very impressed by the suggested pictures. They come from Wikimedia Commons, Flickr and various stock photo providers. For this post, most suggested pictures were logo’s from Wikimedia, Blogger, WordPress and Firefox. You can add them by hovering your mouse over them and then click the plus sign that comes up.
The code to show these images was always added at the top of the post and looked so awful I didn’t even bother to add one. No images dimensions were included and all images are linked.
The same applies to the links that are suggested. For this post links to Firefox, WordPress, Zemanta, Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia showed up. That could be improved.
The articles that Zemanta suggest can be useful. Because this post is about their service, a lot of the suggested articles linked back to their site, but while managing some older posts, I also saw links to John Chow, TechCrunch and other famous blogs. Clicking an article inserts it in your blog post like the one below, but again, the code is awful and it’s inserted at the bottom of your post, so I had to copy and paste the code to get it below this paragraph.
The tags can be a very useful addition too, but when you click them they’re not only added to your tags, but it also adds a ‘Zemified’ icon to your post, like the one you see at the bottom. Of course, you can delete this image, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you can use it in future to bookmark your posts.
All in all, I think Zemanta isn’t very useful yet, but it can be in the (near) future. It’s still under development, so I suggest you keep an eye on it.
Here’s some additional information:
Some Fun With Zemanta by Andy Beard
A content suggestion engine for blogging? That could work… by Mike Butcher at TechCrunch
Check this add-on out and if you’ve used Zemanta, post your comments below.
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