05
May
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Bookmarks - we all use them. Sometimes. Maybe. Maybe not since like 2011 in my case (I really, really don't like bookmarks). But bookmarks have remained a relatively unchanged experience on desktop browsers even since the Netscape days - you CTRL+D, the page goes into a list, maybe that list has folders, and that's that.

This stale experience has helped give rise to read-it-later apps, content aggregators, and even social networks (Pinterest, for example). The reason? They provide a more fully-featured, rich experience when it comes to managing and displaying the content you're interested in looking at again later. Bookmarks are about as rich and fully-featured as a manila folder.

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It seems Google is interested in doing something about that, and that "something" is currently in testing, and it's called Google Stars. Google Stars is sort of a Pinterest meets Diigo meets Delicious meets Google Keep meets Google+ way to manage content on the web you want to save for later. Check out this video, posted on Google+.

It is still based on folders, but the folders are more like collections or albums. Rather than simply saving a URL and a header, Google Stars will actually look at the content on the page and use that content to power automatic filters, scrape images and text to create Google+-esque preview tiles, and even detect if one of your bookmarks contains malicious content or is a dead link, automatically archiving them so they get out of the way. You can even add notes to your individual bookmarks, and managing your folders will be 100% drag-and-drop. Stars will also detect the type of content you're starring (no doubt similar to the way Google+ does things), be it a web page, an image, a video, or something else.

google-collections-first-impression

Your folders aren't just dumb folders anymore, either - they can be shared with your friends using a generated link. So, if you're working on a collaborative research project, you can then share your folder of bookmarked pages with your colleagues. That's not to say similar services don't already exist on the web, of course they do, but with Google's solution, you can all but be assured these shared folders are then synced across all your devices, and will have rich search integration. In fact, you'll allegedly be able to search the entire text of your bookmarked pages for content - that'll definitely be nice. Hopefully sharing will support Drive-style permissions and such eventually, but Stars is still in testing, so the features at launch may be relatively limited.

What's this have to do with Android, considering all the visual evidence we have here is clearly from Chrome / Chrome OS? Well, Google doesn't exactly go launching new products like this without a battle plan for mobile, so you can be assured Stars will be coming to Android eventually, whether as a part of the Chrome app, or perhaps more logically as a standalone app, at some point. We'll be on the lookout for it, and perhaps we can expect to hear some more about Stars at I/O this year.

This information, by the way, comes courtesy of Florian Kiersch on Google+, and you can catch his previous posts on Stars here and here.

Google+

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Ajb.esquire

    I'm the same, hate bookmarks, just recently started using them again just because I figured "meh why not give them another shot"

    • Gary Graf

      But how would you remember to go to Android police

      • Ajb.esquire

        Remember to go? Lol I never leave :)

  • Michael Lavi

    I would prefer to have a Googlev ersion of Pocket. Imagine being able to mark an article in Chrome and have it automatically download in your Google Play Newsstand app. That is my dream!

    • ddpacino

      I think that's Keep, but with some tweaks/improvements. Please PLEASEEE send your feedback to Google! I'm sending in a copy of it myself.

    • Athanor

      They should merge the f*ck out of their product. Give one app which mixes my G+ stream, rss/newspaper, plus actualization/new content from my stars and i'm a very happy guy. Don't give me a new thing to manage. Ho, and merge stars with keep (for christ's sake, the name keep is better suited to this than it is to keep !).

      They should think more in terms of global use. One app/service for consulting new content, one for storing old. And make it consistent across chrome and android. And make these things the easiest things you ever done. And use the automated mail classification algorithm of gmail to order these so i'm always one no more than one click away of stocking something and find it easily later on.

    • icyrock1

      Essentially, that's what I do with my bookmarks as well. I would LOVE the ability to do it natively. Though, I'm quite happy with Boat browser + Pocket extension, more choice is always good.

    • David Loring

      This makes sense; a "read it later" solution is becoming almost ecosystem table stakes. Apple has Reading List, and windows has... some kind of something, I think. The only problem with this is that if google built this I would fear it wouldn't provide easy interoperation across ecosystems, which would make it less functional for me than pocket.

    • epsiblivion

      this is what reader should have become. instead of dead and the useless newsstand

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    So, if I understand it correctly, it is just bookmarks with pretty pictures? So still as useless as it was before(In my experience at least).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Then you pretty obviously don't understand it.

      • Guest

        apparently

      • Freak4Dell

        Care to explain it, then? I pretty much arrived at the same conclusion as Wesley. It's got some sharing features, which is alright, I suppose, but other than that, it's just a UI upgrade for bookmarks.

      • kabloink

        They are introducing new useful features, but the layout of the bookmarks appears to be more of the "everything must have huge images to be modern" trend that's turning once useful pages and apps into sluggish loading eye candy.

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        Well, care to explain it then? Because as far as I see it this pretty much rebrands bookmarks as something fantastic without actually adding anything useful.

        Never saw anything useful in bookmarks but can image other people to do so, but i really do not see any improvement to the original idea. As a matter of fact, it only seems to make it worse if you ask me. Automatic categorization? Sounds fun, until you actually need a bookmark. Oh but thank god we have Google Search to find it for us!

        Honestly, this seems more like a tool for Google to watch trends/search relations between stuff than to make bookmarks refreshing or new.

    • https://twitter.com/YannDinendal Yann Dìnendal

      The full-page search would be useful. And I'm curious about the automatic filters.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Stars? That's a weird name

    • ynksbsbll2

      Raccoon City begs to differ

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        You know, now that you mention it - a part of me wants to think that this name is a hidden reference to Resident Evil now

        • ynksbsbll2

          Resident Evil...Don't be evil...it's all coming together now

    • sdcoiner76

      It goes along with their other products that use stars. Chrome uses a star to indicate a bookmarked page, gmail allows you to "star" mail that you want to keep seperate, Android lets you "star" contacts to set them as favorites.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Oh, so that's where the logic goes

    • fixxmyhead

      For someone who posts alot like u I would think u would of gotten the logic behind the name. Don't u have favorite people on the people app or ever checked out the Gmail app?

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Uh, no I don't have favorite people because I have, like, 7 or 8 contacts, and no, I never used favorites in Gmail because my inbox mainly consists of payment and risque notifications

  • Athanor

    I really hope they integrate it well. I can already see a lot of overlaps. This would go well with keep. My videos to watch on youtube. My sharing on google plus. My drive folder. These are just rapid ideas, but given google's ability to create new things and take a very long time to merge with older/newer products, it's something i think they should watch closely.

  • impure

    Hey look, it's gnome.

  • sdcoiner76

    As long as it is quick and easy to use as bookmarks are now I have no problems with it. Though bookmarks are not a sexy feature they are a quick and easy way to get back to content you need (though I keep mine very organized). I hope that part does not change.

  • Daniel Rode

    Linux! Gnome Shell!

  • br_hermon

    I have actually used Google Bookmarks for years now. I have 100's perhaps even thousands of bookmarks. I started back in Firefox so I could have bookmarks synced across my computers. Then I transitioned from FF to Chrome. But I kept using Google Bookmarks with the Yet Another Google Bookmarks Extension Chrome Extension. Last month though I was going to import all my Google Bookmarks into Chrome and keep all my stuff there until I realized one huge disadvantage of Chrome bookmarks. Folders. Folders need to die. Instead, Google Bookmarks uses tags. So I can have one bookmark in two "folders" (ie "here's a cool jquery script I could use for my client's site" could be in my folder for Client A and Client B.)
    I'm ok with Google Stars, I just hope they don't mess up the experience.

  • Merri Mogridge

    This seems pretty interesting, although I'm not sure how often I'd use it. I'd be more than happy if they could just remove the horrible bookmarks bar at the top of the new tab page.

  • Mskina

    I don't really get the goal with this, and what will they do with https://www.google.com/bookmarks/

  • Guest

    Fuck your "more beautiful" and fuck your "image rich". I'm not an illiterate moron and there's no need to cater to those who are.

  • Alberto

    I hope this gets integrated in the Bookmarks section of Google Play Newsstand, it is too simple right now.

  • Chariblaze

    That all sounds great, but I'd be happy if it was just a feature-for-feature replacement for bookmarks in Chrome. Unlike most things Chrome, bookmark sync is exceedingly unreliable--add or remove a bookmark here, and maybe it'll show up there in a few days or something.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

      Huh, it's not unreliable for me. Works flawlessly across work computer, home computer, Android, and even ios.

      • Chariblaze

        Yeah, looking into it a bit more it might just be that bookmarks only sync when Chrome is launched. So if I delete five bookmarks on my desktop, it won't show up on my laptop for a few days until I get around to relaunching Chrome (it's normally up all the time). I've never had an accumulation of bookmarks that were deleted elsewhere months ago, so that would make sense.

        There's probably a good technical reason for not syncing bookmarks all the time, but it'd be nice if this new service could help solve that, haha.

  • Paolo Gentili

    @rdr0b11:disqus, a little OT: how do you organize your browser without bookmarks?

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      Also curious. Maybe he has flawless memory.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

        Yeah, he probably has all those super long URLs memorized and can just type them out anytime he needs to go somewhere. ;)

    • Indianajonze

      bookmarks toolbar for me. works flawlessly, and if you remove the labels and just leave the icons it 1. looks great and 2. lets you fit all your frequently visited sites and then some

      • Anhstein

        That's exactly what I do. Super easy to Ctrl click to open in new tabs.

        For sites that I really do need names to identify, I organize them info folders that also live on the bookmarks toolbar. I love that they get synced across every machine I use.

        • Carlos

          middle click is faster than ctrl+click :)

          • Adi

            Unless, you've already burnt out all the middle clicks your mouse had to offer, and now it has problems scrolling too. :'(

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

        I agree. I do the same. I have it hidden too, so I only see it when I open a new tab. It looks great, and I have access to sites that are difficult to just "search for" (paying bills, etc.) The sync across devices works brilliantly! I don't need a new bookmarking feature at all.
        But if Google wants to merge with Pocket or something, that's fine. I love Pocket and use it for "read-later," not for bookmarking.

    • ins0mn1a

      i am guessing he just does a web search when he needs something. with all the stuff google knows about us, especially if one is using chrome, what you are looking for gets spat out at the top of the list 99% of time. often this is faster than digging through bookmarks.
      i am not ready to relinquish my bookmarks though. still need them. but the concept is definitely ripe for a reboot.

  • Sakshar Thakkar

    "Google Stars is sort of a Pinterest meets Diigo meets Delicious meets Google Keep meets Google+ way"... lots of guys are meeting for this one

  • Maxime Henrion

    Nitpicking: you have "by the way" written two times in the last sentence.

  • http://www.bidnessetc.com/ Abbie Clarrk

    Google Should definitely do this as well http://bit.ly/1mwcyxa Because bookmarking can be pretty unproductive since it crowds your web browser with all those links once you reach a certain point.

  • WORPspeed

    What about a section on Google Drive for stars, and than have a save to drive Stars option?
    Sounds simple and good enough. That way it benefits from all the sharing features of Drive? Maybe add a bit of G+ identification, I mean if keep can be so different and still run of drive, they can get this too work too right?

  • Cenarl

    It's hard for me to imagine anyone who hates a well organized bookmarks toolbar. I have 100s of bookmarks for referencing and a good handful for daily sites i visit. If you visit a ton of sites daily in a routine like manner, stick a folder on your toolbar with your most visited and right click >open all bookmarks.

    • Mike Harris

      Or even middle-click on the folder.

      • Cenarl

        Ah nice, always great learning shortcuts too boost efficiency !

        Middle click can also close tabs (just hold mouse cursor over that tab) if that helps anyone.

  • ins0mn1a

    i wish google would make gmail-style labels universal: for bookmarks, documents, files, keep notes, even android apps. it could be a mixture of automated content recognition labeling and user input.

  • Matthew Fry

    Google Stars is sort of a Pinterest meets Diigo meets Delicious meets Google Keep meets requires Google+.

  • Erik Knudsen

    Why all the hate on bookmark folders? So easy to stay organized with them. What am I missing?

    • Franki

      Completely agree. I love bookmarks and changing them to include this crap would kill my productivity in the browser.

    • Lalit Mali

      I love bookmarks too and I want to be on your side but I won't agree to bookmarks being "easy to organize"
      I guess Google stars might just fix that for us.

      • Erik Knudsen

        What's not easy about it? Personally, I don't think it could be simpler. I put financial related bookmarks in their own folder, football related bookmarks in their own folder, etcetera. Not complicated at all.

  • D4niel

    Ugh. Folders? Really? Not labels, like Gmail and Google Bookmarks? If they kill Google Bookmarks and make me use folder rather than labels, I'm not going to be happy.

    And for those who don't understand why, it's because I can apply multiple labels to a single item. Then I can search for things with one label, then narrow it down with fewer labels. E.g., maybe I want to see all my homebrewing bookmarks. Then maybe I just want to see my homebrew supply bookmarks, or homebrew forum bookmarks. Or maybe all my forum bookmarks.

    • JG

      I'd assume it would be possible to have a bookmark in multiple folders. Chrome allows that now as I discovered earlier today browsing through the thousands of sites I've tagged. And like you said, other Google services allow for multiple labels/circles/etc to be applied to a single item, so...

      • D4niel

        Sure, Chrome lets you have a bookmark in two folders, but it's two different bookmarks. If I delete one, I have to find and delete the other. Or if I want to reorganize my bookmarks, I have to do each instance of a bookmark separately.

        Yes, some Google services let you organize things by putting them in multiple labels/circles, but Google Drive (annoyingly) does not. This is looking a lot like Google Drive, to me.

  • ThePhanein

    No thank you; I prefer Dragdis.

  • Franki

    The day Google kills bookmarks is the day I stop using Chrome. I have over 2K bookmarks. I prefer bookmarks the way they are now. I don't want pretty pictures. I don't want aggregated content. I just want a list of sites I visit. I organize them in folders, I don't want them bogged down with crap.

    If you don't use bookmarks that's fine. To each their own. No need to destroy a useful feature that has defined browsers for years.

    • james kendall

      I agree 100%

  • Pascal

    I never bookmark I just leve the tab open. So somethimes I have100 tabs in two browser

  • TheLastAngel

    I actually like the idea to spice things up, especially the sharing part. But it needs to be clean, easy to use and not a waste of precious screen space and full of useless images like everything on Google+.

    Have I mentioned I hate Google+? Kill it with fire.

  • NF

    This would be epic with Google documents.

  • WhyWai

    Liking this

  • http://www.clippingpathbusiness.com/ Clipping Path

    Thank you. It's great. :)
    Clipping Path