Bookmarks have been an integral part of browsers since long before Google Chrome was launched. Now, Google is looking to make them more useful than ever before. The new Bookmark Manager extension for Chrome wants to make it easy to organize your bookmarks and have the bookmarks look great at the same time.
To download Bookmark Manager, you need to be running Chrome 38 or above (check in Settings > About Google Chrome and update if necessary).
What’s New In Google Bookmark Manager?
The extension doesn’t come with a huge number of new features. Instead, it focuses on doing the little things right. Here are the things worth noting in Bookmark Manager:
Search has been dramatically improved. The new Bookmark Manager doesn’t just search the title and link, but it also searches the actual text of the saved web page. In our tests, this worked four out of five times. Google might just need more time to index the content of the links before it can search them all. This is the best feature of the new extension as it is much easier to find information from pages you saved years ago. My current favourite bookmarking system, Pocket, offers this too but only in the Premium version. Plus, Google is obviously better at this since search is their core product.
Design is something Google has been paying more attention to recently and Bookmark Manager is a good example of that. Each bookmark is a tiled card, arranged in a neat grid, complete with a featured image. Links without images get a colourful placeholder. The whole effect is quite pleasing.
Organization is a big part of bookmarks. At its core, not much has changed in how to manage bookmarks in Google Chrome. The interface has become easier to use, but you can still apply the same principles as before. One new feature is auto-folders, where Google goes through your content to recommend folders for you. This is a hit-and-miss affair and honestly, we’d recommend switching this off or ignoring it entirely.
Sharing bookmarks is now possible, by making folders which you can set as Private or Public. By default, all folders are private but if you want to share it with someone, go to the folder, toggle it to Public, and click the “Share This Folder” button and copy-paste the link to any one or on your social networks.
Saving new bookmarks is also just like the old process, only prettier. When you hit Ctrl/Cmd+D or click the star in the URL bar, you’ll see the featured image (you can choose between images if there are multiple ones on the page), the headline, and save it to a particular folder if you want. By default, the last saved folder is shown. Tap the trash can icon if you don’t want to save the page.
Is Google Bookmarks Better Than Pocket?
We contend that Pocket is the ultimate digital bookmarking service, so that’s the benchmark for Google. If you asked me if I’d be switching away from Pocket for daily usage, the answer would be no. Put simply, Pocket offers far more features and works better on various platforms, not to mention it doesn’t tie me down to Google Chrome.
There are only two places where Bookmark Manager clearly outpaces Pocket. First, the full text search for links. If you don’t want to spend money on Pocket’s Premium service for this, then sure, Google’s offering does it for free. Second, Bookmark Manager saves your links locally while Pocket is all in the cloud; if that’s a security or privacy risk you are worried about, then Bookmark Manager is again a better bet.
Should You Download Google Bookmark Manager?
Thankfully, this answer is simple. If you already use Chrome’s bookmarks, then you should definitely install Bookmark Manager. It’s the same service you are used to, but with more features and a better interface. You don’t need to learn anything new. Heck, you can even continue to use the same keyboard shortcuts for Chrome bookmarks.
For anyone else, we think a bookmarking service like Pocket is definitely the better way to go. There is no sense in tying down your bookmarks to a single browser when you can get them anywhere, not to mention features like reading mode.
Warning: Chromebook users should not install this extension just yet. See the Chrome help forum for details.
What’s Your Favourite Bookmarking App?
You know our preference is Pocket, but there are plenty of these great save-for-later apps like Instapaper and others. Which one do you use and why?