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Google Chrome Beta Rolls Out Enhanced Bookmarks Manager

bookmarks enhanced google chrome

The latest update to Chrome Beta brings with it more than the usual batch of bug fixes. Say hello to an ‘easier, prettier’ way to add and manage your bookmarks.

Now, elephant in the room time: if you read this site regularly then you’ll no doubt already be familiar with the changes at hand. ‘Enhanced Bookmarks’, previously known as Google Stars, isn’t exactly new and has been available to use by way of a Chrome extension since October.

But in the latest beta release for Windows, Mac & Linux, users get enhanced bookmarks ready to roll out of the box, no add-ons necessary.

Enhanced Bookmarks, What’s That?

The feature aims to make finding and organising bookmarked items easier than it is currently, but also more ‘modern’ in behaviour. As we’ve noted in earlier articles on the feature, most browser’s bookmarking features haven’t evolved that much since the turn of the millennium.

As an approach it works beautifully. A mashup of Pocket, Pinterest and Google’s Material Design, amped up with Google Search smarts and neat features like public sharing and ‘Topics’.

Enhancements include:

  • Add image thumbnails, notes and text snippets to bookmarks
  • Folder suggestions
  • Improved search scans entire page, not just bookmark title
  • Automatic sorting of all bookmarks by ‘topic’
  • Create public, shared folders
  • ‘Dead links’ are archived
  • Google Sync

On Beta Channel and Don’t See It?

To use the new bookmarks manager feature out of the box you need to be running Google Chrome Canary, Dev or Beta. If you’re on beta also be aware that the feature is being rolled out in waves, so you might not have it right away.

Keep an eye on Settings > Bookmarks > Bookmarks Manager or, if you’re feeling brave, switch it on manually by changing the chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment setting from ‘Default’ to ‘Enabled’.

On the Stable channel? You don’t need to miss out; the official browser extension offers an opt-in. Android users can expect to see a native application for accessing saved items on the move appear in the coming months.

  • Lou G

    I don’t know that I’d call it easier. I like the old style and will always love the old style. This is pretty but organization is a little off. I had to manually sort my bookmarks in their respective folders by name.

    To quote the second doctor, “I see you’ve redecorated …..I don’t like it.”

    • Brian Hinton

      I actually think the old style was too utilitarian, and it was like managing my bookmarks as part of a file system. This implementation makes it feel more like a organized library. But this is my opinion of course, and we each have our own. I do think that it’s entirely possible that someone will create a bookmark “app” for Chrome that will implement the old design.

    • djr

      It’s nice but missing major sort function which is pain in the butt to navigate from drop down menu on the bookmark bar

  • Smallwheels

    Adding pictures and full web pages as part of the bookmarks is a really bad idea. It might be pretty but that data will take up a lot of resources that Chrome OS devices don’t have. If you’ve got fifty bookmarks that isn’t so much. What about thousands of bookmarks?

    I’ve got almost one-thousand. They act as a library or reference guide. I don’t visit all of them. They are arranged into categories that I created for the topics that interest me.

    Apple’s Safari browser has this. I disabled the feature because it made the machine run slower.

    • Brian Hinton

      I’d consider if you are using bookmarks appropriately. The main intended use of bookmarks was to create a link to a page to visit later, and that you visit frequently. It’s an edge case using it as library of links. Maybe a service like Evernote, or Pocket would make more sense for an archive of links to resources you rarely visit. The advantage of each being that they will keep a copy of the articles, posts, etc. so that if you go to an old bookmark only to find the site gone (which is possible)…well you’d still have the information.

      • Brian Hinton

        As an addendum…I actually do think that Google is aiming for their own version of Pocket in this implementation, and we’ll likely see some updates that will clean it up. An older post on here hinted at a online version of “stars”.

      • Smallwheels

        Nowhere on the internet is a rule saying that bookmarks are only for temporary regularly used web site data.

  • hairybear

    JOEY-ELIJAH, did you even try to read the comments for the Bookmark Manager extension? Apart from the install/uninstall fail you’ll find people commenting on how un-useful this new manager really is. It lacks basic features and makes finding bookmarks and (what’s even more important) adding new bookmarks a hassle. Unless Google merges all features from the old and new manager, then the new interface will only work for people who have only a few bookmarks.

    I get that they wanted to make something completely different. I just hope they won’t enforce it on everyone. They axed almost everything that’s of any use in the old bookmark manager and added pretty pictures.

    What is supposed to be the forté of this new manager isn’t good at all.
    1. The pictures are chosen arbitrarily and to have a ‘good’ image you have to select it manually 99,99% of the time. I won’t discuss the usefulness of the thumbnail view for bookmarks – just because I don’t find it useful (like at all, the contrary even) doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
    2. Searching for a bookmark is completely redundant – I can search for a bookmarked page from the omnibox perfectly fine since forever (and it scans *entire* pages just as well as this new manager does – it doesn’t)
    3. The folder suggestions are a total flop. There’s no suggestion on chrome restart – at least on my end. What is suggested is not correct and I still need to find the folder I want manually. The click-after-click-after-click style for searching folders (what will no doubt work on the mobile app) is annoying at best on a desktop. It’s much faster to drag the bookmark in the correct folder.
    4. The ‘last used’ folder part that is so awesome in the old manager got compacted here to just one (sic!) last used folder. If anything I would expect to have a couple more than before (i.e. more than 7) not less. It’s enough that you use two folders often and this new ‘feature’ becomes useless.

    • Brian Hinton

      I feel pretty much the opposite on all of your comments.

      • hairybear

        You’ll be a happy user of the new manager then. That’s great and I’m happy for you.
        Why would they force it on the rest of the world though? It’s not like the existing features of the old manager are somehow bad… they don’t *need* to make this change for economic, logistic etc. reasons. This is purely a change of design philosophy.

        Now I was pretty bummed by the features of the new manager when I installed it.
        I was frustrated by the bugs that came with it.
        I was irritated that sync problems added another layer of bugs on top.
        I got furious when I found out that the extension can’t be uninstalled.

        Luckily the community quickly found the solution – i.e. changing the flag.

        Frankly now I’m terrified that they might even consider forcing it on everyone.

        (to make a simple analogy: I mean if you like Macs that’s great and all, just don’t force me to like them too)

        • Brian Hinton

          I probably won’t. I usually utilize read later services, bookmark longterm links within Pocket (to save and tag), and any “todo” links go in wunderlist. Local bookmarks exist in the bookmarks bar, and favorites. They generally are the ones I access daily.

          I understand where you are coming from though, and luckily you aren’t forced to use Chrome. Just as you aren’t forced to use Macs. As I said in another comment I do expect that someone will make an alternative bookmark Chrome app.

          • hairybear

            Fair enough.

  • Heimen Stoffels

    So this crappy thing has found its way into the browser by default now. Well, I was already kinda losing faith in Chrome but this pushed me into really saying bye-bye to it.

    • HerveS94

      Yeah go away honestly your negativity and the three people that agreed with you should be somewhere else fool.

      • Heimen Stoffels

        So I’m a fool because I dislike a certain feature that pushes me away… sure. Let me have my own opinion, please.

        • HerveS94

          whatever man just go, lol nobody at all cares man honestly your opinion means nothing.

  • HerveS94

    I like the new bookmark, people can hate as much as they want, also if don’t like so much then go into the guts of your google chrome browser and disable it simple and use an alternative bookmark instead, for me this is a nice niche from google engineers that work on google chrome 24/7.

  • xdigi

    So instead of adding useful things like tags and bundles (like Firefox has had for 20+ versions), we get PICTURES FOR OUR BOOKMARKS. YAY FOR USELESS ADDITIONS.

  • Great! Can they make it stop crashing like crazy on Linux now? Watching a simple YouTube video freezes the whole thing halfway through, a problem I never had on pretty much any other Linux browser I’ve used in my life.

  • PhotoBear

    How can I disable this feature??? I have a million bookmarks I need to clean up / or get an overview of them all at once and this Fischer-Price like design is not helping me.

  • goodlab

    I just don’t get it. Why can’t chrome make a sidebar bookmark panel like the one in firefox. I got tired of waiting for chrome to add a sidebar bookmarks panel so I developed one. You can see it here. Hope it helps. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sidecar-bookmarks-sidebar/lbnegejhdjianfmbancpeflnkbfollfi

  • Cat Tilley

    This may be OK for a new Google Chrome user, or those who bookmarks few sites.

    Yet what about those of us having a bookmark collection dating back to the late 90’s, from back in the IE4/5 days? I have tens of thousands of bookmarks in over 1,000 organized folders (most are sub-folders of categories). How is ‘starring’ a bookmark going to make my experience better?

    I’ve found this way of disabling it, yet if it gets forced on me, will go right back to Firefox. That’s where I came from (after IE), and have no issues with going back.

  • kenoman

    I can’t believe that the people at Google Chrome have the audacity to say “The Enhanced Bookmarks feature” aims to make finding and organizing bookmarked items easier than it is currently”! That’s only if you started using Chrome today. But I have years worth of bookmarked favorites saved in folders that I meticulously created and organized. With this new feature, I absolutely CAN NOT figure out how to find the folder in my bookmarks that I want to place the new weblink into. Call me stupid, but I spent hours trying to figure out how to use the new “improved enhanced bookmarks” to no avail! And I ain’t stupid!

    • Nancy Heger

      I totally agree – I did the same thing. Does anyone know way to turn off enhanced bookmarks?

  • Brian Burress

    Does this suggestion work for others? I just tried it and still have the “new and improved” garbage.

    • Cat Tilley

      It works for me, hope it stays that way. My only issue is that I have 5 computers with at least 4 OS’s on each, having to go through this on every OS is a bummer.

      Yet at least it works. For now anyway. I can’t see Google Chrome forcing this, they’re the #1 browser, will cause many to flock. Especially those whom has many thousands of bookmarks in organized folders, going back to the IE4/5 days & have imported to Chrome. No way will these users accept this.

  • Nancy Heger

    Okay, I commented too soon. Yay! someone has found a way to turn it off. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you….