Why I Won’t Use the New Chrome Bookmarks

Update 10th June, 2015 — The Chrome team is bringing back the previous version of Bookmarks Manager (See https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/6243083) If you would like to continue using the new bookmarks manage, you can install the Bookmark Manager extension at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bookmark-manager/gmlllbghnfkpflemihljekbapjopfjik

I am not a big fan of Google’s material design in terms of aesthetics and personal tastes, but I do appreciate its cleanliness and ease-of-use. However, yesterday, Google decided to apply this new design principle to my beloved Bookmarks. Needless to say, I did not like it.

For those who feels the same as me, rest well tonight because you can actually disable it. Go to chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment on your browser and select the ‘Disable’ option. Click the ‘Relaunch Now’ button at the bottom of the page for it to take effect.

What it used to be

The old Chrome bookmarks

The old Chrome bookmarks looks like something from a decade back, but it was functional. I click on a folder, I get the bookmarks inside instantly. I want to move a bookmark, I just drag and drop, instantly. I want to look for a bookmark, I just search, and the results return, instantly. I want to look expand a folder…you get it.

It was nothing fancy, but it worked very well.

And Now…

Slow to load

Before, when I entered chrome://bookmarks, it loaded instantly. Now I am greeted with this loading screen.

Before it opened in a flash, now I have to wait?

Slower workflow

The list style of the previous bookmarks manager means I can fit more (26 entries) on my screen. Now it’s all fat, bulky tiles, and I can only see 10 at a time. Even when I switch to the ‘List’ view, I can still only see 14. This slows me down.

The new ‘Tile’ view
The new ‘List’ view


When Gmail introduced those inbox tabs and category labels, the first thing I did was to turn it off. It was confusing and unnecessary — folders and stars were enough for me. It’s a mail box, don’t complicate things.

Bookmarks are bookmarks. All I need are folders to house them. Now I have the ‘Bookmarks Bar’, ‘Folders’ and ‘Auto Folders’. No need man. Let me categorize them the way I like. It also doesn’t help that some of the entries in the Auto Folders are simply wrong.

Useless Search

I have a folder called ‘Social Media’, when I searched for the term ‘Social Media’, the folder didn’t turn up. What did turn up wasn’t even the bookmarks I had inside the Social Media folder. That’s useful.

Relevant search results — actually gets what I want
Irrelevant search results — does not get what I want, instead shows me 20+ entries I don’t want

Also, when I typed ‘Social’, it tries to autocomplete with irrelevant terms.

Irrelevant autocomplete


If you try to add a new bookmark, the box that appears to have too much in it — A large (and unnecessary) image, a title that is the same as the description, the actual URL, and a folder selector. All it really needs is the Title and the folder, like it used to.

Information overload

And instead of giving you a folder tree to pick your folder from, now you have to navigate slowly through each folder, hoping you remember where that folder you nested 6 layers deep really resides.

I had a folder tree I can quickly expand and find the folder I need
Now I have to click on those stupid arrows and hope I remember the exact hierarchy and path to find the folder I want


People are going to argue this happens with every revamp, and eventually people will get used to it and end up loving it. I am pretty sure this is not one of those cases.

It doesn’t matter what design principles you want to stick to, it’s all about user experience. If it looks good but harder to use, that’s a loss.

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