Zemanta is a Slovenian blogging tool that automatically suggests contextual photos and links for any post.
Webware describes Zemanta as "a brilliant product for lazy or otherwise time-focused bloggers" and it's a fair description. The tool is offered either as a plugin for hosted blogs (WordPress and MovableType), as a browser extension (IE and Firefox) or with hosted platforms including WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and LiveJournal.
Image by Roebot via Flickr.The video above walks through what it looks like on a Blogger blog, on a WordPress hosted blog I'm currently seeing a Zemanta box directly below the publish options on the right hand side. The plugin updates every 300 characters automatically, offering a gallery of context and legal pictures I can use on the this post. Below is a list of contextual articles I can place in the post at any time. Below the WordPress post box is a box labeled "links" with suggestions for links that can be inserted into the post base on words in it, for example with this post it's showing Firefox, LiveJournal, WordPress, Zemanta and others. The tag box also gets contextual suggestions as well.
I've only just installed it, and have really got to give it a more serious workout, but my first thoughts: this is a really useful tool and I can see myself using it and even recommending it to others. Not having to dig around for pics (well at least less often), less stuffing around with link insertion, tag reminders, even related articles. My only two negatives: what are they getting out of this (where's the catch) and secondly, it insists on inserting a Zemanta button at the bottom of every post every time you hit a button, so if you're half way through you've then got to deal with code stuck directly after your last word. It's easy to delete it prior to posting and ultimately it's only a small annoyance.
Example of a contextual link below, the Zemanta button that the tool auto inserted, and the laptop picture above from their gallery suggestions.