In with the old and out with the new, that’s what I always say. Google seems to be thinking the same way, as the Chrome team this past week replaced its newer card-based, tiled bookmarks manager, pictured above, with the previous link-based one. You can access the now old bookmarks manager by visiting chrome://bookmarks.
For reference, here’s the old manager (I’m admittedly not a heavy user of bookmarks):
The new-but-now-replaced manager, which we know was initially dubbed “Google Stars” inside the company thanks to it briefly appearing as an extension in the Chrome Web Store, was introduced in Chrome 42 beta in November of last year and became part of the stable, consumer build shortly after. The new manager brought with it organization of bookmarks by topic, which Chrome organized automatically but could be also be manually performed by users, and bookmarks received automatic thumbnails and descriptions that were crawled from their respective pages, to name two features. Making it feel a lot like Pinterest, you could also generate URLs to your folders and share them with others.
The reasoning behind the Chrome team’s decision to replace the new manager with the previous, less pretty one, seems to be an outcry from the community of diehard bookmark-users that it prioritized design—big images, Material Design animations, etc—over utility. The big squares for each bookmark meant that much more scrolling was required to see the same amount of information as from the older tool, the animations led to performance issues on the computers of some users, and there just wasn’t enough enhancement in functionality to compensate for the problems. It’s worth noting that you can, in fact, switch to a list view in the new bookmarks manager, like pictured below, but many believe the old manager is still better.
The Chrome team said in its post to the official Chrome help forum that the “team will continue to explore other ways to improve the bookmarks experience.” So we’ll probably see the default change again in the future. They also note that for those who do want to continue to use the new bookmarks manager, it’s available as an extension in the Chrome Web Store.
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