Marici.com is a new web-based social mind mapping application that says it allows users to share their ideas, thoughts and more in the form of mind maps (click here to read the news release). At first glance, however, it looks to me like it has a ways to go in order to reach that ideal. It’s actually a very text-centric tool for sharing topics and knowledge with others, which also has a mind mapping view.
Marici.com enables users to create topics that can be used to store knowledge. Information that can be stored along with each topic includes text notes, web links, tags, time blocks (beginning and end times) and images. Topics can be connected within a map, or across many people’s maps. A keyword search tool makes it easy to locate and add specific topics from the Marici.com community to your maps.
When you first come to the site, there is little to show you what you can do. A lot of the keyword text is in Japanese. Signing up for a new account on the site was fairly easy, but I found the process of creating a map to be confusing. It took me a few minutes and a trip to the help page to figure out which icon I should click on to create a new map. Then it displayed a text form. So I created a topic entitled "my first topic," which the application added to a tabular list of topics. What’s significant here is that the primary interface is textual, not visual.
In order to see your topics as a visual map, you have two options – to view them as a "mapgraph" or a "topicgraph." What’s the difference between the two? I’m not sure. When you’re in a map view, you can view each topic’s meta data (notes, tags, etc.), but you cannot move topics around – that seems odd to me!
My conclusion: This is a knowledge sharing tool that’s trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. It claims to be a mind mapping application, but it doesn’t really provide much in the way of mind mapping functionality. At this early stage, Marici appears to be a text-centric workspace that has added a mind map view as an afterthought. But because this service was just launched earlier this week, I’m willing to give the developers of Marici a break – perhaps they have plans to add some more map-centric functionality to their application. But so far, I’m not impressed.
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