Google Chrome Bookmarks/Favorites Changing

This is a big change. I’m not sure I like it. In fact I currently dislike it so much this may be a change that drives me to Firefox or CoolNovo.

Google's New Bookmarks Manager

Google’s New Bookmarks Manager

The change was only appearing in the Beta version of Chrome, which I run. But, it is feedback from beta users that will decide if this feature becomes mainstream, which is probably a near certainty anyway, based  on Google’s past history of how they change Chrome and other Google products. Feedback may change it, but I doubt it will stop it.

This change is expected to roll out to mainstream users in the next couple of weeks. So, you may want to get it and try it, so you can provide your feedback. Download: Chrome 40 Beta.

The plan was to have this change rolling to the mainstream users in January. So, more than just beta users may be running into the change now. Some are saying it is now in the main release. It is hard for me to tell where I am in the update process. I just don’t follow it that close.

There was a version of the Bookmark Manager in the Google store. Installing that app is a sure way to create problems for yourself. Uninstalling it is the next most popular way to create problems… avoid it. If you already installed it, oh well… sorry. Google for how to remove Chrome bookmark manager.

It looks like they are trying to imitate Feedly, but with book marks in place of feeds. I’m going to have to use this for a time and decide if I do or don’t like it. My first impression after an hour or so is they just destroyed UI and  folder tree I had memorized. I won’t be able to use this browser without relearning the UI, which is a shame. Google has many useful tools that integrate with the browser. So, I may HAVE TO adapt.

I am used to selecting folders to place my bookmarks in when I click the star in the URL/search field. Some of my folder trees are 5 or six folders deep. Most are  only 1 or 2 deep. Navigating folders is awkward now, at least for me. I can’t look and see structure. Instead I now have a tiny little tree with most of the folders hidden away.

There are two very different trees to learn. One tree for finding bookmarks and a very different tree for saving bookmarks. They look very different. So, folder locations will not be as easy to recognize or memorize as I have to learn two trees. And it looks like I really have to learn them. With the old style I just had to ‘sort of learn’ or get close and then I could see/find the folder I wanted to put a bookmark in.

Also, there is a whole flock of ‘automatic’ folders made up of titles Google thinks you should have. Those are just additional clutter for me. They do seem to have some relationship to your existing bookmarks. Rearranging a folder tree a user has memorized and forcing them to learn new ways of doing things is frustrating. But, the auto-folders can be hidden, so they aren’t too much of a problem. But, the drastically different appearance of folders is confusing. The folders now disappear into the images of bookmarks. At first I could not find nested folders. I was overlooking them thinking they were another bookmark. The image for them is based on whatever is inside them. So, I suppose from time to time they will change, which if so will just be that much more confusing. I did not realize how much I depended on folders being VERY different in appearance from files/bookmarks.

I also edit the names of bookmarks. The reason that I change the name is to make it something more in line with the reason I want to remember it. Some people use tags for their bookmarks. I change names. That makes it easier for me to search and find things later. I can still edit the name. But, it is not obvious that I can. Click on the name while saving the bookmark and it changes to a text input field and becomes editable.

Once the bookmark is entered, editing the name is now a different process. Click the 3 dots on the bookmark to open the bookmark editor… another entirely different way of doing the same thing. Double the learning curve…

You can drag-and-drop bookmarks. The devs explain: We’ve changed the way to move bookmarks into nested folders:

  • Select all of the bookmarks you want to move
  • Click on “Choose a folder” at the top of the Bookmark Manager
  • Click on the folder or type to quickly search for it

Next I had to figure out how to make a new nested folder. It is hidden in the red NEW button over on the left side. Not intuitive…

The old bookmarks manager is NOT gone, just replaced for now. While we will likely be stuck with this new one, for now we can change to the old one. As it is now, my opinion is the new one sucks.

A quick search reveals a way to disable the new bookmark manager and revert to the previous style for handling bookmarks.

  • Open a new tab.
  • Use the URL: chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment
  • Find: Enable Enhanced Bookmarks
  • Select DISABLE in the drop down.
  • Look at the bottom of the page and click RELAUNCH.

The Google devs warn this method may not always work. They also sort of warn that the new manager may not handle large numbers of bookmarks. So, backup you bookmarks so they can imported to another browser.

Google asked for user feedback in a message posted to the Chrome support discussion forum. They got a lot. Plus there is a lot of backlash hitting the web, like this article. Computer World has an article on that aspect of the change. See: Chrome Users Attack New Graphical Bookmarks Manager.

The most objections are coming from users with lots of bookmarks, which is my case. The consensus is the new manager and system is unusable, especially if you have a large number of organized bookmarks. In general power users are labeling it a child’s UI.

The BIG bookmarks mean too few are on the screen about 15 or 20. The dev’s seem to be trying to make the new UI pretty… over usable? They say we will have new ways of handling the images in the future. Great. Can I just turn them fracking OFF!?!

There also seems to be a capacity limit. At about 3,000 bookmarks people say that see the system failing and have problems adding new bookmarks. Those with large numbers of bookmarks also say this new UI is slow. I think I have a lot bookmarks, but, I don’t noticed it being slower… just really awkward to use.

I didn’t do a count, but of the 17 pages of feedback, by far… really really far… most appear to be negative with a good portion showing frustration and irritation. I can see why.

Well, there is CoolNovo and Firefox… I just updated my bookmarks from Chrome to Novo.

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