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Google Brings Chrome’s Old Bookmarks Manager Back

Google disables new bookmark manager — here's how to get it back


If you weren’t a fan of the new bookmark manager in Chrome, I’ve got some good news for you: Google has disabled it.

An update that reverts to the old bookmark manager in Chrome has been pushed out across all stable, beta and developer channels.

The switch from a list of text links to an immersive grid of touch-friendly tiles proved a controversial one upon its initial introduction late last year and a stinging backlash from many (many) users promptly followed.

Explaining its decision to revert the change Google say that while “the Chrome team is committed to improving the bookmarks experience” they have, for now, “decided to bring back the previous version.”

The new bookmarks manager is not going away entirely though, so fans of the new bookmarks feature can continue to use it — but only by opting in.

First, let’s recap.

Internet: ‘The New Chrome Bookmark Manager Sucks’

‘The outcry from those who disliked the ‘enhanced bookmarks’ was deafening’

If the sub-heading above rolled off your tongue, you were not alone. Many recoiled at such a dramatic change being made to an intrinsic part of their browser experience.

From Google’s own product forums to social media accounts to the comments of this very site, dislike of the thumbnails, auto-organising and carded layout was made plain. At times the outcry to the enhanced bookmarks experiment was almost deafening.

Rather than stick its fingers in its ears Google has listened.

The old Chrome bookmarks view is back as default (for the time being). The old text-based interface, list view and manual sorting options ) balming the complaints.


The old version is once again default

But in pleasing one half of its user base Google will inevitably annoy the rest.

“For the time being we’ve decided to bring back the previous version”, say Google

Get the New Chrome Bookmarks Manager Back

The flip side to this about-face is that the those users who did like the new design now have to go out of their way to enable it.

Thankfully Google has made this super easy.

To get the new Chrome bookmark manager back you just need to install  an extension on the Chrome Web Store.

This is (currently) the way to get the gridded bookmarks layout back in Chrome.

When installed you’ll be able to (once again) have your bookmarks auto-ranged by topic, see graphically rich representations with thumbnails, snippets and notes, and be able to publicly share collections of links with other folks.

Install the Official Chrome Bookmark Manager Extension

It Will Be Back, Though

The new manager wasn’t quite a universal hit but I do not expect this retreat to be the last we see of it as a default options.

google bookmarks icon

Google will need to rethink, retest and partly redesign the ‘new’ bookmarks manager before reintroducing it at a later stage and will, I suspect, cater to the needs of those who disliked it by adding additional sorting options.

The ‘enhanced bookmarks’ flag used that previously controlled the manager is now defunct. In the dev channel at least it no longer affects any change, i.e. setting it to ‘enabled’ does not enable it.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter — whether you liked the new bookmarks manager or not — in the comments below.

H/t to @meyerarual

  • Frank J. Alejo

    Are you serious? Why remove it, were there people out there who actually disliked it? It wasn’t half bad

    • A lot of them, yes.

      • scottcarmich

        It truly was change for the sake of change. It actually made managing and using bookmarks harder. I would guess the only people who liked it were people with DOZENS of bookmarks at most.

        • I have 360 bookmarks and it’s still really easy to manage with the New Bookmark Manager ;)

          • How do you alphabetize your bookmarks. I have got over 700. They are all over the place.

        • Frank J. Alejo

          I guess everyone uses bookmarks for different things, I for one doesn’t have many bookmarks so to me it is just a place for a “Come back later”or”don’t forget this” type of thing. I would actually love to see someone who uses bookmarks currently(that isn’t just in a bookmarking hoarding way)

          • wirelesscord

            I have about 3000 bookmarks, most of them pretty well organized. Do you want a screencast or something? :D

          • Frank J. Alejo

            Oh mah gosh, that would rock! I like looking at stuff like this, maybe get to “borrow” what you do with bookmarks. Gladly would see a screencast

  • WTF NO
    edit: oh good I can get it back, but still

  • Vin

    I did find the new bookmark manager cumbersome to use and, with it, I was NOT able to import my Windows bookmarks despite all of the help I got. At the same time, I was not very averse with the new bookmark manager since I’ve only been a Chromebook user for 10 months.

  • hugo venhorst

    I was wondering what all this was about. Sure, make it look better, by all means. But from one day to the next, I get confronted with a psychedelic mismatch of colored tiles an no clear way of parking my new bookmark in it’s appropriate subfolder. Sometimes I get the option to sort and name it in the little menu after clicking the star, sometimes it just said it was finished, requiring me to go to the bookmark color soup, find my bookmark, edit it’s name and drag it to the folder on the left. Make up you mind…

    Glad the bookmark system is off the shrooms. For now at least.

  • arn

    People just hate change, and are not willing to learn new great way to organize their stuff, if the change is forced upon them. They have to discover it for themselves.

    Google should have kept the new Bookmark Manger if they really believed in the product. But they should also have made a “Classic” mode for all fans of the old Manger. That way everyone would be happy.

    • wirelesscord

      Ah, good old “people just hate change” card. It is hard to organize things with an application that does not have the most basic organizing features (list view wasn’t there first, sorting, proper drag & dropping).

  • eima

    It was easy to use and stylish, how can you dislike something like that? It was good!!

  • CoconutScrimp

    I like how the new bookmarks manager looks and functions, but it really needs features that the old/current bookmarks manager has. I really miss sorting by name and the Other bookmarks folder. I mean, the mobile version of the new bookmarks folder (hidden behind a flag) has the Other bookmarks folder!

    • Well I’m using the New Bookmark Manager and I still have the Other Bookmarks folder (top-left)

      • CoconutScrimp

        I see you’re using a Chromebook, so maybe it only shows up there. I’m on Windows and I don’t have Other bookmarks folder. Folders in the Other bookmarks folder show up, but not individual bookmarks in said folder.

        • BC

          I have that annoying Other Bookmarks folder too, it shows everything contained in my Enhanced Bookmarks. It shows any uncategorized bookmarks individually while everything else is contained within a folder. I don’t know why you aren’t seeing it.

  • I didn’t even receive the new bookmarks manager, so I can’t say if I liked it or not.

  • The New Bookmark Manager is not perfect, but I like it way more than the old one.

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  • Calvin Hobbes

    I think this enhanced bookmark manager was an absolutely BRILLIANT update. It was CRAZY Chrome decided to disable it wholesale. They should’ve just allowed those tasteless types who disliked it to disable it at will instead of forcing it on everyone without a path for recourse. That was its only design flaw really.

  • Morten Ulv

    For me the new bookmark manager would never load. I would have loved to use it though, but was forced to use the old one.

  • El Fredo

    I like the new manager better, the old one was so Netscape-era. I’m thankful that they kept it as an official extension.

    • BC

      I am still using the new manager…It isn’t hard to navigate, I kept using it consistently until I understood how it worked. Now it is fast for me to add, find, and categorize my bookmarks.

  • msayanvala

    The new manager is waaayyy better than the old, windows explorer-ish ugly one.

    • liamdools

      Download a third party one if you don’t like the good one, just don’t have it forced on everyone else. You’re part of a minority that Google listens to because they have some time on their hands and feel like changing something.

  • Anthony Tumiwa

    yeah what a very good news, new bookmark = bad user experience, not easy to use

  • Vin

    So I checked out the Bookmark Manager last night after this topic, and did notice that I had a listing format, but I also noticed a switch that made it appear like that new Bookmark Manager.

  • motang

    Good decission, so much better with OG, just keep it simple, not need it to be all flashy!

  • bmlsayshi

    Making it touch friendly was not the part that bothered me personally. The part that annoyed me was the absolutely horrific interface for adding a bookmark. If they want to know how bookmarks should work they can look at the chrome plugin named “Neater Bookmarks” or possibly Firefox.

  • Jordana Sinclair

    What bugged me was how ugly it looked. I didn’t want super huge icons. I wanted good, clean, easy to use.

  • mesocyclone

    I hope the same sanity prevails with Google Contacts. The new Contacts (thankfully, in preview only) loses critical things like the ability to deep search for patterns – i.e. type in “fig” and everything with that in it, anywhere in the contact, pops up. Example” it would find a contact with the word “configure” down in it somewhere. This is a feature, not a bug. I hope they get that.

  • bwat47

    The new bookmarks manager was a good idea in theory, but the implementation was just not good, it was just not pleasant to use. A bookmarks manager in a desktop browser absolutely needs proper sorting options, drag and drop (in the new bookmarks manager you couldn’t re-order stuff in list view by dragging, seriously wtf), real multi-select (ctrl + click and shift + click), a proper COMPACT list view etc…

    The design was also very ugly, I don’t mind material design at all on android, but this bookmarks manager looked totally amateurish and completely out of place in chrome’s current UI. The bookmarks manager for the DESKTOP version of chrome, should actually fit with the desktop version of chrome’s UI. Its like it was developed totally on its own and then just shoved into chrome.

  • otnte

    Now bring back old search, old maps.

  • wirelesscord

    Incredible victory for users! I also find it pretty incredible how it was in beta testing mode since October (not sure when it actually landed Chrome dev version, but the initial versions were offered as a browser extension), and that many months, they didn’t manage to add a simple sorting option which was always one of the main complaints.

    Not that adding sorting would have mattered to me: with thousands of bookmarks, the whole paradigm not offering a clear folder hierarchy is just not usable.

  • It sucked but it was much better-looking!

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