Hands-On with Google Stars for Chrome

The new bookmarking app from Google is pretty nice

By on May 31st, 2014 22:42 GMT

If there’s one thing that’s completely awful about Google Chrome, that’s the bookmark managing system. Thankfully, the company has been working on a special tool for a while now, dubbed Google Stars.

News about this extension came a while back in the form of a leaked image presenting the introductory page to Stars, but not much has been unveiled since then.

It looks like Google uploaded the app to the Chrome Web Store yesterday and then had it pulled down. Unsurprisingly, someone caught it in time, and soon the web was full of the .CRX file.

Since the file is not in the Chrome Web Store just yet, you’ll have to take the roundabout to install the tool on your Chrome, by accessing the Settings area, clicking on the “Extensions” tab and using drag-and-drop to install the file. This won’t exactly work if you’re using the latest Chrome beta version, since the company has instated its new extension policy on that version.

According to Google’s latest step against malware, the company is restricting the installation of Chrome extensions from third-party sources. While it’s still possible to download and install them from outside the Web Store, the apps you add to Chrome still have to have a duplicate in the Store or they won’t work. This is Google’s way of fighting against malware-ridden tools that don’t go through the company’s scan.


Google Stars explained


“Google Stars” will read and modify data on the websites you visit, read and modify bookmarks, access tabs and browsing activity and communicate with cooperating websites. Basically, it will completely replace the regular bookmarking system within Chrome, even changing the white star with gray border in the right side of the address bar with a white star within a greyed out box, which will turn yellow upon saving.

The prompt for installing Google Stars
The prompt for installing Google Stars
The basic functionality remains the same as the current favoriting system in Chrome, but it will come with an added visual bonus. When you bookmark a new page by using Stars, a small box will appear, which contains extra information.

You’ll see the page’s title, a short description that will likely be the first few words of the article within, the website it comes from and a way to add the bookmark to a certain folder. The box also contains a picture if one was attached to the article and you’ll be able to go through a few options by using the available arrows.

Depending on which of these images you decide upon, you should know that it will appear in the bookmark’s box in the Google Stars page. Which leads us to the next feature of Google Stars – a managing page.

Managing your bookmarks

You can access this by clicking on the “View all starred items” button that appears in the same box mentioned above. Here, you’ll see all the bookmarks you’ve made, or, as they’re called now – “starred” pages.

In the main page, you’ll see the most recently added bookmarks arranged in a timeline, while on the left side, you’ll notice a filtering system. The app automatically builds these by scanning the names of the pages.

For instance, if you’ve saved a few pages with pretty cats, you’ll see those under “Cat.” The same can be said about other animals you may love, or any other topics. The folders you’ve already created will be present there as well.
You’ll also be able to check out the pages based on content by using the drop-down filtering system near the search bar at the top of the interface, which enables you to look for videos, images or webpages.

The presence of the search bar is also particularly important since it will certainly come in handy whenever you try to go through dozens of bookmarks, something that is pretty difficult to do in the default Chrome system.

If you click on any of the boxes representing the saved pages, you’ll be redirected to that site. If you want to manage the bookmarks instead, you’ll have to click on the top right corner of the same box to select it.

You can select as many pages as you want and move them to a folder of your desire, which makes for an easy managing system. If you don’t want to keep them, you can always delete them in bulk with the help of the “Delete” button on the blue ribbon.

Google Stars may not be available for everyone through the Web Store just yet, but it will certainly end up there soon. If you don’t want or don’t trust downloading it from other sites, you can always wait a few extra days. It’s not exactly uncommon for Google to change its mind and remove an extension right after it uploaded it, but up until now, they all made it back into the store within a few days.

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