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Forget folders, leverage your history

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

You know the feeling; how do you find that site which you visited some months ago whose link you no longer have? Why did you not bookmark it when you visited it? Ok, I hear you, you didn’t know that you would need it again.

But before we get to finding the address, let’s examine how it is commonly done today. It normally goes something like this: you find a site, you like it, then you bookmark it for later. Except that the bookmarking is hardly always that easy. You have to organize your bookmarks, tag them correctly, put them in the right folder, and so on.

bookmarking

That’s a lot of work for the chance that you might need the site later. So a lot people don’t bookmark sites at all. Then we’re back at the question of ‘how do you find that particular site’. This is why I was particularly stoked when awhile back, Firefox introduced the “Awesome bar”. Firefox as I remember, was one of the first browsers to introduce this feature but most major browsers today have some version of it.

The basic premise is that when you start typing in the “Awesome bar”, it searches your history, bookmarks (and open tabs in Firefox 4) to find pages with content or addresses similar to what you are typing. For example, my search for ‘awesome’ turns up this:

firefox_awesome_bar

I find this so useful that I have little incentive to bookmark anymore. If I even vaguely remember what the site was about, then I type in a few keywords and Firefox finds the page for me. I find that Google Chrome’s implementation is weaker that Firefox’s (which is ironic as Google is search market leader). Chrome does not take full advantage of my browsing history as I would like it to when searching and results are not very comprehensive. IE 9 does a decent job however.

With Firefox Sync (built-in in Firefox 4, but available as add-on for previous versions), you can leverage your browsing history on multiple computers and even on your phones. Of course, all this will not help you if you do not keep a search history. If you use bookmarks a lot, I recommend adding useful tags to your bookmarks so that you can easily find the site later.

So always remember: you have a history, leverage it.

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