Bookmarking across computers

March 13, 2007

Like most people, I have a lot of private bookmarks / favorites. Over 700 of them, in fact! My partner has a measly few dozen, but I know of people who have thousands of bookmarks. Too much info, too many sites to keep track of? But the number of bookmarks I have doesn’t feel like many to me because I keep them organized in folders like “News”, “Financial”, “Work”, “Home.” I even have sub-folders of bookmarks, like “Home / Improvement” and “Home / Parks info” – so no folder has no more than 20 or so links. A few years ago, I had a problem. (Well, I had more than one problem, but let’s not go there — this is a tech blog, not a confessional.) I was using at least three computers regularly (two at home and one at work), and it was becoming a chore trying to keep bookmarks consistent between all of them. I’d look for a link I had saved the week before, and then realize it was with one of the other computers and not the one I was using now. Urrgh!

Yahoo Bookmarks logoThat was around the same time Yahoo Bookmarks came out. It’s a Yahoo service where you can save and organize bookmarks, and you can access it from any computer with Internet service once you sign into Yahoo. Even better, its bookmarks are accessible via its Yahoo Toolbar for IE, Firefox, or Netscape. Easy to find bookmarks, easy to save bookmarks, easy to switch from computer to computer!

I quickly imported my bookmarks into Yahoo Bookmarks and loaded Yahoo Toolbar onto my computers. Problem solved! Well, for a while.

Google logoI’m the type of person who likes new stuff. And I love Google. (I used to love Yahoo, but as it became stale, I jilted it in favor of Google. Blame me – I’m fickle.) So when Google came out with Google Bookmarks, I quickly made the switch. And was initially confounded by Google’s tag-based organization scheme.

Tagging something means giving it labels instead of storing it in folders. It’s so Web 2.0 — it encourages social networking and collaborating between multiple users. Google’s doing it for bookmarks, and also for emails in Gmail. When viewing bookmarks in Google, you’d initially see all of them, until you select certain tag(s). Some bookmarks can even have multiple tags, since it might fit under different categories or folders (i.e., a banking website may be listed under “Banking accounts” and “Investment Accounts” since I’d have two different accounts there). In theory, it makes for easier organization and quicker retrieval. In practice, it can be confusing at first — especially for someone like me who’s used to folders. (I should note that Yahoo Bookmarks still uses folders, although it also allows tagging too.)

Unfortunately, the Google Toolbar for Firefox (my favorite browser program) doesn’t have a Bookmarks feature, altho it’s been available for quite a while for Google Toolbar’s Internet Explorer version. (Growl.) So, I’ve been using a Firefox add-on called Gmarks to display Google Bookmarks in Firefox. It actually works very, very well – probably better than either Google or Yahoo Toolbars’ Bookmarks functions! I’m able to easily rename bookmarks, drap and drop new bookmarks, create folders (!!) and give tags / labels, and do other Bookmark-related stuff quickly. The developer of Gmarks comes out with an updated version regularly, and is quick to incorporate feedback.

Gmarks has spoiled me with its features and its use of folders. When Google gets around to putting a new bookmark feature into its Toolbar for Firefox, I’m not too sure I’ll install it … (I dislike installing Toolbars. It slows down opening the browser and sometimes create other compatibility problems as well.) (OOPS! As I was writing this, I thought I’d double-check the current version of Google Toolbar for Firefox. And it now has Bookmarks support! I tried it out, tho, and came away dissatisfied — it doesn’t recognize multiple sub-folders like Gmarks does. And I can’t drag and drop new bookmarks, or make other quick changes via the Toolbar. So, I’m sticking with Gmarks.)

So, there you have it. More than enough info. Happy Bookmarking!

[Edit: This blog post is for “private” bookmarks — the ones you use regularly and, for whatever reason, don’t want to share with others .  Daveynin reminded me about social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us.  Those sites are for sharing and tagging bookmarks that you want your friends or even the entire world to know about.  I’ll discuss those in a later blog post.]

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3 Responses to “Bookmarking across computers”

  1. daveynin Says:

    didn’t you mentioned about del.icio.us, the most popular web 2.0 social bookmarking?

  2. moxie_mocha Says:

    THANKS!!! I’ll look into this, and will probably get into it. FYI, I’m adding you to my blog. You have really cool geeky stuff. :)

    I also have StumbleUpon on my Firefox. Do you know about it? On Firefox, you can “stumble upon” different websites to find something interesting and new. A new way to surf on the web. It’ll keep tags of what you found so far, and share your reviews of the websites.

  3. proudgeek Says:

    Daveynin — oops, you raise a good point. I was thinking about PRIVATE bookmarks, the type that you don’t want to share with other folks. I’ll make some edits to show this. And good idea, I’ll talk about social bookmarking in a later post.


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