The best ways to keep track of your favorite sites

Browser bookmarks have been around since some of the very first web browsers were invented in the 90’s. They’ve improved a bit over the years, but have remained essentially the same.

I’ve been using the built-in Chrome bookmarks for years now, since they just work. It’s easy to add something, and they sync across your computers to always stay backed-up.

There are also tools like Evernote and Google Keep that have “clippers” to help you quickly grab items from pages that you’re on. They work well, but can led to clutter over time.

I come across a variety of interesting sites each day, and I wanted a place to just put them all. Saving them all in Chrome would make a huge list, and putting them all in Evernote/Keep would make a mess. I wanted it to be easy to add new items (no tagging/categorizing required) and super easy to search.

After much effort, I found four good options — three of them might be a good solution to you.

I was very excited when I found Stash. They use AI to help categorize what you find, and it really works well. It had two problems, though:

  1. It’s buggy. When browsing your sites, it simply didn’t always work the way it should. That’s bad, but the bigger issue was…
  2. It’s made for saving, not finding. It does a great job of saving and organizing your items, but doesn’t have an easy way of getting them back. Most of these kinds of tools will (optionally) replace your “new tab” page to help you quickly find your saved sites.

Stash has potentially, but I ruled it out rather quickly.

Every time I did a search in my quest for the right tool, Pinboard came up. It has an old-school feel to it (similar to Craigslist), but has a rabid fan base. It has a solid Chrome extension and tons of third-party tools.

For me, the problem again came down to surfacing the items you saved. It has a nice interface, but doesn’t have an easy way to add this to the “new tab” page. Even without that, their search feature is simply acceptable, but not great.

The one I may end up with eventually is Raindrop. It feels the most professional of the apps I tried, and does a great job. It has the “new tab” page that I’m after, along with mobile apps for easily saving on the go.

It’s a bit heavy on the “please organize these items”, but works well enough even if you don’t take the time to organize them. I’m going with Kozmos (see below) for now, but could certainly see myself ending up back here if things go south with Kozmos. Part of the issue with many of these tools is that they come and go often, and this feels like it’ll be one that sticks around.

The winner, at least for now, is Kozmos. While it seems to be a one-man show, which keeps me worried about it’s future, the goal is exactly what I’m looking for. Azer Koçulu, the founder of Kozmos, explained it well in an post he wrote in 2017. In part, he said:

This is exactly why I built Kozmos; bookmarking should be simple. Found a useful web page ? Click the heart button in your browser, boom, done. No more filling forms, no more trying to figure out tags. Kozmos is powered by an advanced search engine, so you’ll always find what you’re looking for.

Perfect! On a desktop/laptop, it works amazingly well. Easy to save, and super fast to search. It’s imperfect, for sure, but it’s a very good place to start.

There is no mobile app yet, but that’s in progress. They have some workarounds for mobile, but 95% of my use of this kind of product will be on desktop, so it’s not a big deal.

For now, it does exactly what I need — I can save a page with a click, and (more importantly) I can find it just as quickly. I find their “new tab” page in Chrome to be the best of the ones I’ve tested.

I have my worries about a product like Kozmos that is free to use with one guy behind it, but they’re clearly pushing forward and hopefully develop the missing features (mobile app, etc) and and a revenue model soon.

What do you use to keep up with your bookmarks?

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.