If you live on the web, or work on the web, or both, you know you need bookmarking. Yes, I know that google is the ultimate reason why you wouldn’t. After all, why bookmark if it’s all already stored in google. But even google results aren’t quite *that* personal. And bookmarking is a productivity device. I need fast, efficient bookmarking with powerful organization, so I can get all the sites I’m interested in off my screen and into actionable folders or reference archives. I may not need that online fax tool I stumbled across just now, but I need it later. And having 40 tabs open because I plan to research a couple of topics soon, is too much of a burden on work – I need to be able to dump them into action item folders. Bookmarking should work very much like an RSS reader, and less like it does in the built-in browser favorites motif.
If you *are* storing your bookmark in your browser, like I used to do, what happens when your operating system or your hard drive crashes? There are services, but one of those services is google itself. Install google toolbar, and start using the built-in google bookmarks button to store your favorites. One of the nice things is the ability to bookmark all your tabs at once under a category. Besides, bookmarks are hardly ever revisited without better organizaton.
I’ve been finding google bookmarks a bit slow to respond these days, though. Can’t tell if it’s google, firefox, some plugin, or all of the above, but I want to save and close, not save and wait. I need faster bookmarking. And bookmark management is just as important. Without bookmark management, I might as well be storing it in notepad. As much as I love google bookmarks, it’s got functioning management, but nothing stellar or very convenient, even if navigation is lightening fast.
I’m a member of quite a lot of social bookmark sites. I won’t do delicious for personal use, because it’s a yahoo property now. Furl is gone, though they’ve been replaced by Diigo which is pretty cool for social bookmarking for other reasons. I’ve got their plugin installed. So I went on the hunt for something to replace my google bookmarks, as a primary bookmarker, until they get it prioritized higher. Besides, while delicious is the obvious choice for some people, it doesn’t have the organization features I need – it sacrifices those in favor of the social aspects. So here’s what I found that would work:
Spurl: Survives where Furl didn’t. And Spurl has some pretty nifty features. It stores a cache of the page, much like google. And it’s got those nice social sharing features, plus a clean, fast, stellar interface. It’s the organization tools that make it worthwhile, though.
Blinklist: Mostly about the interface and organizational tools. The list organization vs. folder/category is not for me. I like it in e-mail, but in bookmarks I want my folders. For one thing, I bookmark sites as action items. I need to have folders for better organization. But the interface has got some nice customization features to it, and they’re fast.
Gmarks: This is my new tool. Like all social bookmark sites, its both a browser plugin and a web site, but the site in this case is actually google bookmarks. It lets me keep google bookmarks ,but gives me very fast linking, great organization and great management features in a sidebar. With a Gmarks browser plugin, google bookmarks is redeemed, and is now my confirmed bookmarks manager. I commend it to you highly.
That said, I’m keeping an eye on the other two. I think they’re better than delicious by far, for real bookmarkers, so check them out if you just don’t want to use the google stuff. Oh, and bookmark Rules of Work while you’re at it.
Opinion: I’m thinking about engaging in conservation of links, by leaving out links to sites when we already provide the name. Everyone’s got google now, so just typing any one of these in your browser bar or google search bar will bring up the site for you. Links to everything are just, I’m beginning to think, old fashioned. Besides, you don’t know if they’re going to open in a new window or not at a lot of sites, unless you go to the trouble of right clicking and all that. Time will tell, but I’m interested in your opinion on this. Besides, too many outbound links give away search engine juice, in case you didn’t know.