I am an information hoarder.
When I read interesting or useful things online, I instinctively want to find a way to keep them.
In the earliest days of the Internet, I used the bookmarks in my Netscape Navigator browser to keep my stash of web pages. The problem was, this was a terrible solution. Browser bookmarks aren’t searchable or well-organized. If I ever needed to find something again, I had to scroll through a super-long chronological list of unorganized bookmarks.
The problem was so bad, that for years, I resorted to simply printing out–on paper–the articles I found interesting. I still have boxes and boxes of old printouts, which are even harder to search through!
Then Joshua Schachter created del.icio.us, the first major social bookmarking service. Delicious was an early Web 2.0 success story. It allowed users to bookmark web pages (using a bookmarklet in the browser bookmark’s bar) and store the bookmarks in the cloud. The key innovations were that the bookmarks were tagged, allowing for easy organization and structure, and that each user could, if they chose, make their Delicious feed public and followable.
I was an early adopter of Delicious, and given my voracious browsing habits, I was soon adding numerous bookmarks per day. Some of my most-used tags reflected my interests: bookstoread, psychology, happiness, entrepreneurship.
This era is even documented in The Startup of You, where Ben Casnocha relates how one of the ways that he, Ramit Sethi, and I stayed up to date with each other was following each other’s Delicious feeds.
Sadly, all good things come to an end. Delicious was purchased by Yahoo, and made its way through multiple owners before finally being shut down. Regretfully, I exported my thousands of bookmarks and looked for an alternative.
I settled on Google Bookmarks, reasoning that by choosing a service operated by one of the world’s most successful companies, I would be able to use the service for the rest of my life, without having to worry about it suffering Delicious’ fate.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
This year, Google decided to end Google Bookmarks, just like it earlier ended another of my favorite tools, Google Reader. Just because a company *can* afford to operate a service doesn’t mean that it will. Especially if it is considered a niche service; it’s hard to attract ambitious product managers and engineers to maintain a service. People naturally want to create something new, or work on a fast-growth rocket ship.
Google Bookmarks is going away at the end of the month, which meant that I had to, once again, regretfully export my thousands of bookmarks, and find a new service.
Fortunately, one of my investments, Dokkio, happened to be looking at adding web clipping to its file collaboration service. Dokkio had already released its Dokkio Sidebar, a Chrome Extension that made it easy to tag and organize cloud files and documents (including Dropbox, Drive, Gmail, and Google Docs). All it needed to do was add support for web pages.
Naturally, I encouraged this line of thinking, and a few weeks ago, Dokkio added web clipping functionality.
Not only does this functionally replace Google Bookmarks, Dokkio web clipping makes bookmarking even easier and more useful.
When I want to add a new bookmark, I click on Dokkio Sidebar in Chrome. This brings up a web clipping window that lets me decide whether to clip the entire page, or just a screenshot. This clipping helps overcome the issue of link rot, when a page I previously bookmarked goes away. Before, I could use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to try to find the missing page, but now Dokkio makes that easy. As with Google Bookmarks, I can write my own description of the page.
Then Dokkio analyzes the web page and suggests potentially matching tags. This is a huge time-saver, and helps ensure consistency of tagging.
Finally, the web pages that I bookmark in Dokkio show up in Dokkio, alongside my files, Google Docs, and Sheets. Now, instead of have a separate workflow and repository for web pages and bookmarks, I can integrate them into my standard way of working.
I’ve been using Dokkio Sidebar for a month, and it’s been working great (of course, I’m biased). If you’re looking for a more powerful Google Bookmarks alternative, check it out here!