The former king of social bookmarking sites, Delicious, relaunched yesterday. But is there a place for social bookmarking in the age of the social network?

Delicious set the standard when it launched in 2003, but then languished after Yahoo took it over in 2005. YouTube creators Chad Hurley and Steve Chen purchased the site this April, promising some major changes.

Those culminated in yesterday’s beta launch -- that’s right, the eight-year old site is in beta, all over again.

But what’s really changed?

Not much. The site’s gotten an attractive, image-heavy design overhaul that’s based on what the company calls “stacks.” These are thematic, user-curated bundles of Web content -- essentially miniature Tumblr blogs. And like Tumblr blogs, they’re highly visual (many on the front page today are collections of videos or images) and narrowly focused.

The Delicious team says that each stack “presents an opportunity to introduce the rest of the world to cool web content they haven’t seen before.”  The top stacks on the site today feature donuts, dogs dressed in outfits that should be illegal, and East Asian girl groups, among others. And in the company’s own introductory video, the example stack features silly mustaches.



By emphasizing visual cues, it seems the site is encouraging users to collect irreverent ephemera. And stacks themselves are hardly an original concept even within Delicious. They’re just a re-worked version of the site’s old “bundles” feature.

Delicious users seem to be picking up on all the this. On Twitter, they’re in revolt over a bug that’s caused the site’s RSS feeds to disappear. And on Facebook, they’re peppering the site’s fan page with complaints.

“I do see some improvement [and] less clutter,” wrote Koen Verbrugge on Facebook. “But [it’s] also less social and less practical.”

Added Käthe Roper: “I think the fact that the Help page starts out with a video talking about mustaches says a lot.”

Much has changed since Delicious launched back in 2003, and it’s fair to say the Web has largely left the bookmarking site behind. Unfortunately, if initial reaction to the site’s redesign is any indication, Delicious won’t be catching up any time soon.