NHN ex-CEO's new service beta launches

Web 2.0 | 2008/03/21 12:38 | Web 2.0 Asia
As I reported earlier, it was rumored that the former CEO of NHN, Mr. Brian Kim, will enter the foray of blogging business. (NHN is the company behind Korea's #1 giant portal, Naver.) Mr. Kim's new company, Iwilab, is already up and running in the Bay Area.

But it turned out that Iwilab's new service isn't so much about blogging as it's about website asset clipping/sharing. (Confirmed by Mr Jun Hur of Iwilab.) So I guess it was a classic example of a traditional newspaper reporter hearing one thing and writing another, completely different thing - when will they "get it"?

The new service from Iwilab is called Buru.com. I don't know where that name comes from - perhaps "bookmark" + "guru"? Or the Korean way of pronouncing "Blue"? (just kidding - but couldn't help the speculation as the site is generally hued in blue).

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Buru.com is actually a very simple concept. It's a giant archive for anything you see on the web - web pages, photos, video files, etc. You can directly add items to your buru, or browse some else's saved items and copy those onto your buru. Social bookmark meets RSS reader meets Box.net, perhaps?

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The concept reminds me of a popular Korean service called "Nate Tong". Tong means "container" in Korean, and the service is provided by SK - the same company running the ever-famous Cyworld. Tong is quite popular in Korea, but the less desired side-effect is rampant copying of content among the users.

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Buru.com is currently in open beta, meaning you can register and take the service for a spin. Frankly, I'm a bit underwhelmed by the service. When you try something out, there are services that "bite", and there are those that don't - I think buru.com falls into the latter category, at least for the time being. (I still like you guys, don't take me wrong.)

But the amazing thing about web services is, of course, you can always improve things as you go on. Buru.com will get only better from this point on - and you should never underestimate someone who used to sit behind the wheel of the world's #5 search company.
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