Bookmarking in the Browser and Beyond

Photo: Student working with laptop

Student working with laptop

This is the fifth installment in the series Exploring Useful Browser Extensions. Previous tools highlighted in the series include The Great SuspenderClearlyAnnouncify, and EasyBib Tools.

Not that long ago social bookmarking was garnering all kinds of interest. After years of losing all your bookmarked websites every time you upgraded your computer, an array of web tools emerged to not just solve that problem but leverage the power of social networking, acting as a kind of peer review. Many of those tools still exist and the ones that make browser extensions available can continue to have great value.

Image: Delicious, a Google Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store

Delicious, a Google Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store

The first social bookmarking tool to really gain mainstream attention was Delicious. Founded in 2003, the free service was an easy place to collect and curate links online, making them accessible on any device with Internet access. Despite the company experiencing a tumultuous time, it continues to this day and has over 7 million registered users.

Image: Delicious browser button

Saving a link with Delicious button

The Delicious browser extension makes it easy to save a link for any website to a Delicious account. The tool is simple, saving the page title, link, tags, comments, and the ability to save the resource privately or publicly.

There are also added options to share the newly saved links via connected Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Similar to Delicious but with enhanced features, the Diigo Web Collector browser extension adds annotation tools to the social bookmarking capabilities. Operating since 2006, Diigo quickly became a preferred option for educators. Over 9 million users take advantage of the broader toolset.

Image: EasyBib Tools, a Google Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store

Diigo Web Collector, a Google Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store

Associated with a Diigo account, the tool allows saving the page title, link, tags, comments, just like the Delicious tool. There is also the option to make the saved links public or private.

Image: Saving a link with Diigo Web Collector

Saving a link with
Diigo Web Collector

However, there are additional options, such as being able to add the link to a specified group, for sharing and collaboration, or a add it to an Outliner, a structural customization feature that allows for organizing links, notes, quotes, and images. Additionally, there are tools to highlight and add annotation, in the form of sticky notes, directly to the webpage being saved.

Perhaps the simplest and easiest method for saving links of all is using Pocket. Founded in 2007 as Read It Later, Pocket has gathered over 15 million users, in part due to its ease and availability across multiple platforms. While Pocket does not boast the features of Diigo, it is a quick and easy way to simply save links for later viewing.

Image: Pocket, a Google Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store

Pocket, a Google Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store

The Pocket browser extension is a button with limited functionality. Once clicked the site is saved to a Pocket account and the gray icon changes to the more familiar red, denoting that the site has been saved any time it is accessed in the browser. Once stored to a Pocket account, tags can be added later.

All of these browser extensions are available both as Chrome extensions and Firefox Add-ons. Also, all three are compatible with across multiple devices. So, saving links to one of these accounts can be done on mobile devices as well.

When it comes to mobile device compatibility, Pocket is the clear winner, being integrated with over 1500 apps. Using a different strategy, Diigo produces its own alternative browser for mobile operating systems that integrate seamlessly with its accounts. Delicious also works on mobile devices but requires more finesse and setup to work with ease.

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