Google's reinvention of the Chrome bookmark system, called Google Stars, was first spotted by Florian Kiersch nearly a month ago. Today, it looks like the Chrome extension and web interface are already live for the public, preceding any official word from Google about the burgeoning bookmarking service. For now, it looks like Stars is still in a dogfooding or testing phase.
Users who install the Chrome extension (linked at the bottom of the post) will be able to access the service's web interface, which will automatically "add the Google magic to your data," collecting a history of topics you're interested in or things you've bookmarked, arranged automatically by date.
Users can then organize bookmarks or stars into folders for easier access, and share those folders if they choose. There are also a selection of pre-determined filters based on your apparent interests. The Stars extension will also replace the typical "bookmark" icon in Chrome's omnibox, ensuring that you don't create duplicate bookmarks by instead directing new bookmarks to Stars.
Behind the slick interface and the excitement of a new Google product, Stars is big news - it's easy to predict that the underlying process that determines what you are interested in will contribute to Google's aspiration to know more about you as a person, using that information to give you back information and helpful suggestions about what you where you want to go, or what you want to see and do.
The sharing aspect of Stars is an interesting addition, adding to its value by opening up the possibility of collaboration with others on a given topic and ostensibly placing Google in competition with services like Pocket, to some degree.
As we mentioned last time, Stars is obviously Chrome-centric, but it's very easy to see how this information (and indeed the bookmarking functionality itself) could carry over to a better, smarter mobile experience. The listing for Stars in the Chrome Web Store promises "more integrations to come," as bookmarks and frequent sites are the initial targets for inclusion.
Those interested in trying stars out should hit the link below. Since the service is still in a "dogfooding" phase, it may get taken down again.
Update: That was fast! It appears that Google has already yanked Stars back from the Chrome Web Store. Hopefully we'll see it again soon! If you still want to play with Stars, hit the second source link below to download the extension manually.
Thanks, Benjamin Staneck!