An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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March 20, 2008

Google's Broken Bookmarking Systems

Google hasn't yet launched a proper bookmarking system. Google Bookmarks was just a small extension of Search History and became more useful after the integration with Google Toolbar. Notebook lets you clip content from the web, but it's more useful for research and not for bookmarking web pages. Google Reader's shared items are limited to your subscriptions or to web sites that have feeds and they're not structured. The not-yet-officially-released Shared Stuff widget wants to unify the ways people share web pages and it's more like a meta social bookmarking service.

In this guest post, Michael Searcy expresses his frustration with Google's failed attempts to develop a service for bookmarking and sharing web pages.



Like most people I want Google to add a social aspect to "Google Bookmarks". The crazy part is they already have a disassembled version of a social bookmarks network. The parts are: Bookmarks, Reader, Notebook & Shared Stuff.

Share

Web Pages

Feeds

Tags

Contacts

Bookmark

Profile

Bookmarks

no

no

no

yes

no

yes

no

Reader

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

no

yes

SharedStuff

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Notebook

yes

yes

yes

yes

no

yes

no



Bookmarks: it's great for across computer access but has no sharing, or interaction with other Google services.

Reader: It is awesome. It has changed my life! I find and share more stuff with it, than with normal browsing. You can "star" items that you want to lookup later for reference, but if you want to bookmark something you have to invoke some hackery (you can open the item outside of reader and bookmark it with a toolbar shortcut, or use a Greasemonkey script which doesn't work). Another limitation not shown in the chart is that you can't share anything you are not already subscribed to. Also on a shared reader page you don't get a summary view (for people with lots of posts), you can't search and you definitely cant slice it up by tags/labels.

Shared stuff: It's interesting because if you find something cool in Reader you can star it, then later when you get around to reading it again you can open it separate and bookmark it. Then if you open it from your bookmarks you can use the Email/Share toolbar item to Share it and it will Show a "star" saying its bookmarked. Other cool aspects are that you can Share through Google, share through other social networking services, email it to your low-tech friends, and you can even tag your items! You can do all that, but you can't bookmark with Google Bookmarks? You can use every bookmark service except Google. You're kidding me right? So now we can share bookmarked Items in a round about way, but we can't bookmark shared items!!!

Notebook: Its nice for a web notebook/clipboard with multiple headings or "notebooks" (which is repetitive but that's what they are called) and the sharing function is nice, if your into sharing notebook type content. Then they tried to incorporate bookmarks, but they imported them and called them "Unfiled Bookmarks", which means it's a bookmark and it's not associated with a "notebook". Which is extra weird if you "move" a bookmark to a notebook. Then you get your Markbooks confused with your Booknotes and ..... Wait. This is just madness. Its just 2 different classes of labels. But you can share "notebook" class labels but not "labels". So close.

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