To get started, just visit Del.icio.us to create a free account, verify it, and log in. You can select Del.icio.us's Import/Upload link to copy up to 5MB worth of browser bookmarks to your account. Del.icio.us will translate folder names into tags and can tell if you already have a page bookmarked, so you shouldn't wind up with duplicates. You can add new bookmarks individually within a simple form at Del.icio.us, or drag a bookmarklet to your browser's Bookmarks or Links Toolbar, so that you can click Post To Del.icio.us without leaving the window. Del.icio.us is already baked into the Flock Web browser (still in beta).
Del.icio.us hasn't changed much since Yahoo bought it in 2005, nor has it merged with My Yahoo or integrated with a host of other Yahoo services. The text-and-white-space interface of Del.icio.us remains monochromatic with a touch of blue, which would have looked up-to-date in the last century. The overall lack of design means Del.icio.us loads in a snap, so you don't have to wait for big images to appear if you're stuck with a dial-up connection. However, social search services Wink and StumbleUpon also load quickly while managing to be easier on the eyes. Tiny thumbnail previews of Web pages are a recent interface addition to Del.icio.us. Even more useful, the competing Windows Live Favorites previews bookmarked pages within its interface. Text ads appear within the Del.icio.us site, but they're pretty low-key.
Del.icio.us uses tags, which are subject keywords such as "travel," "chocolate," "ferrets," or whatever other category you create. Each time you save a Del.icio.us page, you can add new tags. If the tag already exists, Del.icio.us will fill in the word as you start to type. In theory, you can search for like content and never need to manually sort your bookmarks, as long as you've attached tags along the way. It's probably a good idea to back up your bookmarks with an HTML document export.
It's easy to see the most recent content and the most popular tags. The top five are usually pretty geeky--design, blog, software, reference, and programming--but they're closely followed by music and art. You can search for more specific subjects. And each saved page will display the number of Del.icio.us users who have also bookmarked it, so you can jump around and peer into other people's preferences.
Plus, you can add Del.icio.us content to your own blog or other Web site as a badge, a link roll, or a list of tags. For the more tech-savvy crowd, Del.icio.us also offers little scripts that let you add MP3 files to a site and so on. And you can allow Del.icio.us to post a daily update of your content to a blog in Movable Type, TypePad, or WordPress. Or you can just choose Network Privacy from the Settings page to keep content to yourself.