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Thursday, September 23, 2010

To converge Chrome Bookmarks with Google Bookmarks?

There is a tool called Google Bookmarks. I use it to display a list of the often used sites on my iGoogle home page (using a gadget). But why do we need two sets of bookmarks? Every browser on the market has bookmarking functionality, although some tries to appear more original and call them Favorites.
So, wouldn’t it be great to converge to sets of bookmarks into one?

All browsers display bookmarks as a tree structure. Some of browsers have pretty good bookmarks UI. In my opinion, latest Firefox is a champion in this field. Firefox remembers a position of  previously added bookmark (IE does not) and only expands that branch in a bookmarks tree by default. It allows to add tags to bookmarks and to put separator lines between bookmarks.
In my older post I proposed a way of much easier addition of a new bookmark to some folder of your bookmark tree – to right-click on a folder and to choose “Bookmark current page here”. I submitted it to Chromium Issues site too, but would better to submit it to Google Product Ideas? (I’m a bit lost in Google’s web land.)

But there are several advanced features Google Bookmarks already implemented (not in a best-UI way, perhaps),  but browsers’ bookmarks have not.

First of all, Google Bookmarks support labels. Labels are synonymous  to tags or categories. They allow to assign multiple characteristics to each node and to search/filter by a characteristic. Firefox actually started to implement similar in-browser functionality called tags. It’s here, but it’s not a convenient thing to use. Neither Chrome nor IE support it.

An excellent example of labels implementation is Gmail. (Buzz cries for implementing labels too.)   Gmail recently allowed for nested labels (an experimental labs feature.)   It’s a tree structure,  but since you can easily assign multiple labels to each email item and easily filter, finding a particular node is easy.

My browser’s bookmarks tree (I sync them using Xmarks) is enormous. Thousands of valuable links (mostly on programming), so many of them it’s often easier to Google for a page than to find it in bookmarks. But maybe smaller more shallow bookmark tree combined with labels and ability to search within it in a Google-way – a system converged from browser’s bookmarks and Google bookmarks will be more convenient?

Google is in a unique position: it owns both Google Bookmarks technology and Chrome browser. Nothing should stop it from displaying that converged bookmark system in a Chrome menu – replacing current Chrome bookmarks. This way individual user’s bookmarks still could be synchronized with bookmarks in Firefox or any other browser. This other browser wouldn’t know these are Google bookmarks and would perhaps support only part of functionality.

Please discuss this post on Google Buzz.