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Gary Flake

We’ve been wondering what computer scientist Gary Flake has been up to ever since we discovered his new startup company, Clipboard. Now, Flake, a former technical fellow at Microsoft who previously ran the company’s Live Labs research group, is taking the wraps off the new service.

And so what’s Clipboard all about?

Basically, it allows users to save parts of Web pages, blowing past traditional screen grab technologies.

“With Clipboard, you activate our clipper from your browser’s bookmark bar and then click on what you want,” writes Flake in a blog post. “That’s it. You can optionally annotate, tag, organize, share, and search your clips, but the core steps remains the same: Click and save.”

There’s no shortage of companies which have tried to tackle this problem in the past, including a new entrant by the name of Highlighter which graduated last year from TechStars Seattle. It too allows individuals to highlight portions of Web pages, and then save the information to a centralized spot with notes and annotations.

“There are certainly a lot of new (and old) services that focus on saving parts of the Web, but I think that this is a sign that the area is both important yet underserved,”Flake tells GeekWire.  “That said, I believe that Clipboard has a pretty unique solution compared to others.”

For example, Flake — who prior to Microsoft ran the research groups at Yahoo and Overture Services — says that Clipboard maintains a lot of the same functionality of the original source. That means a clip of a stock chart or map can maintain its interactive features, including links.

I’ve been playing around with the service this morning, and it is pretty slick. One thing I’d like to see is the ability to increase or decrease the size of the clip. But I am pretty interested in where this is headed, and have enclosed some examples of how this can be used below.

Also, clips mirror the original Web page so closely that I wondered how copyright holders would feel about it. Flake said he’s aware of that potential hurdle, adding that they are being extra careful on copyrights.

Clipboard, which raised $1.3 million earlier this year, employs five people.

“We optimized for fidelity, functionality, portability, and sharing,” says Flake. “It’s an admittedly crowded space, but I am pretty sure that our approach is actually quite distinctive.”

Check out this clip that I made of Todd Bishop’s recent story about the iPhone 4s launch, and note that links and images are preserved.

It gets even better. Check out this clip where the actual video from Todd Bishop’s story on the Amazon locker system is included.

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