– The Vertical Web to Nowhere – The Vertical Web to Nowhere

layers has just launched a new way for users to share web content. According to their site,

Layers is allowing anyone to create over (on top of) existing websites. It’s intuitive, easy and can be used for countless purposes such as annotations, highlighting, embedding video.

If you can get past the atrocious grammar and flagrant abuse of buzz words like “vertical web” you might be inclined to give Layers a try. I watched their demo video and was truly intrigued to give Layers a try.


Layers looked like a great way to markup and share an existing webpage with my own content but I soon found that Layers is the exact opposite of intuitive and easy.

Once you click the Layers bookmarklet you’ll be greeted with a sparse and strange user interface. I could create titles and objects but where is the cool video and picture features highlighted in the video? I honestly can’t determine if layers is currently broken or if their interface is so unusable that I can’t find these features. Admittedly I haven’t won any Nobel prizes for physics lately but I’ve used plenty of bookmarklets and its a complete mystery how Layers is intended to work. Don’t bother looking for a FAQ or user guide. One of my colleagues finally discovered some How-To videos but they show little more than creating a layer and how to email it. There are no revelations about how to add images or videos and the sharing options are limited to email. Email really? A sharing technology without social media tie ins?

In fairness the bookmarklet does say “LayersOS Lite” so I assume full functionality might not be available yet but by the time it arrives I’m not sure anyone will care. The demo video challenges us to “Imagine we can create over any website and share it with the rest of the world.” and leaves me still imaging.

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