Why Use bookmarks?
I remember my first collection of bookmarks, back when they were called Favorites in Internet Explorer. Each new site found its way to a folder and each folder had an inspirational name: Photography, Recipes, Knowledge, etc. My bookmark sites list grew large, unruly, unvisited, disorganized, full of duplicates, links that no longer worked, and outdated information until I lost it all, every single bookmark vanished in a crash-slash-reformat accident. I started with a clean slate and the truth was that I had just a dim recollection of each favorite. I really did not miss any.
Today, thanks to a newer generation of smarter browsers, I use bookmarks as triggers for suggestions from the address bar in a very different, time saving fashion.
Address Bar and Bookmarks Bar
Always See the Bookmarks Bar: The bookmarks bar is located just under the address bar. It gives you quick access to bookmarks in the form of buttons you click to visit the sites they point to. By default the bookmarks bar is hidden in most browsers. Make sure you always see it by checking the View menu of your browser and selecting Always Show the Bookmarks Bar.
These are great shortcuts. I keep a list of my primary sites on the Bookmarks Bar: Google Mail, Google, our school website. Sometimes I also use folders from the Bookmarks Bar to keep a longer list of website URLs structured.
Bookmark Sites for Speed
Have you ever googled Google because you were too lazy to type “.com” in the address bar to form a complete URL? Here is the most important feature of bookmarks in Chrome, Firefox and even Safari: when you bookmark a website, the site name becomes a suggestion available from the address bar in your browser. Bookmark www.ilovepickles.org and the next time you type a string of keys pertaining to the URL or the name of the site (e.g.: “pic” from “pickles“), the smart address bar will suggest your bookmark first. This is the most important feature available with bookmarks nowadays and it is the ultimate time saving tool.
Of course this is extremely useful for websites with very complicated URLs, but it works so well, I end up bookmarking all my most frequented websites. I organize these in a Quick Access folder in my Bookmark Manager.
Shortcuts for Google Docs
Additionally, I started using bookmarks as shortcuts for the Google Docs, Sheets, even Folders that I use all the time (e.g. the school letterhead template in Google Drive). The search feature in Google Drive is good but this is so much faster. It’s such an easy time saver! All you have to do is:
- Open a Google Doc you use a lot.
- Click on the star to bookmark the URL of the Google Doc.
- Type in a few keywords that are useful to recall the document quickly.
Chrome Bookmark Manager
I still spend a lot of time organizing my bookmarks and recently I discovered a little hidden gem for my Chrome Browser: Chrome Bookmark Manager. This extension made by Google replaces the original bookmark manager with a beautifully redesigned interface reminiscent of Pinterest.
The most striking feature is the use of featured images for bookmarked websites. Drag and drop works very well. A very intuitive button allows you to move bookmarks between folders with ease. It evens adds a most needed starred shortcut to all your bookmarks straight from the bookmarks bar. All these features make for a pleasant experience when dealing with bookmark management.
In fact, I am expecting that this beta will eventually be fully integrated into the Chrome browser. I was never a fan of Diigo, a much touted bookmark sharing website, but Google Bookmarks includes a Share this folder button which may turn it into a great alternative for social bookmarking sites.
Let us know the nifty uses you get out of your Bookmarks in the comment section below.
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