Browsers

Raindrop.io Takes Bookmarks Into The Cloud And Makes Them Beautiful

If your email isn’t restricted to a client, and if your documents aren’t restricted to your hard drive, then why should your bookmarks be any different? Meet Raindrop.io, a new service that takes your bookmarks into the cloud and makes them beautiful as well as easy to search.

Raindrop isn’t the first service of its kind, of course. Apps like XMarks are a great way to sync bookmarks across browsers. But they do require syncing, which means the browser needs a plugin or some other installation. On the other hand, Raindrop.io can be accessed like any web service, which means you just go to the website and find your bookmarks there.

What’s Raindrop All About?

In a nutshell, Raindrop is a bookmarking service that stores your bookmarks online instead of in your browser. It’s as plain and simple as that. What this means is that you never have to sync your bookmarks across browsers, you just go to the webapp and find them there, regardless of which device you are using.

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To bookmark pages with Raindrop, you still need an account and an extension for Google Chrome. Sorry Firefox users, for now, you will have to look elsewhere to manage your bookmarks. You can use one of your social accounts to sign in. I recommend sticking with Facebook or Twitter because the Google sign-in you see on the web version isn’t available on the iPhone version.

All the bookmarks come with a headline, a short blurb, and a photo—the look can be customized how you like it. It all comes together to look strikingly good and makes for a pleasurable browsing experience. Who would have thought bookmarks would be eye candy?

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Importing Your Existing Bookmarks

The best part about Raindrop is that it doesn’t make you start a new bookmark collection. Once you are ready, you can import your current bookmarks from any browser. Plus, Raindrop also supports Pocket, which in a way is the ultimate digital bookmarking service.

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Once you get all your existing bookmarks, Raindrop auto-tags them with the name of the source and creates a collection. Collections are one of the important aspects of this service and you can create your own too. Plus, you can share them publicly, which lets others “subscribe” to your collection and you can discover some useful collections too.

Tagging, Searching & Filtering

Each bookmark has some auto-tags generated based on what it links to. There are four broad type-based tags: ‘photos’ for images, ‘content’ for videos, ‘articles’ for articles from known publications, and ‘links’ for everything else. You can quickly find anything you need by searching for these type-based tags. When you are bookmarking any new page, you can choose to add these tags or any more of your own choosing.

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Raindrop really shines when it’s time to find a bookmark. Because of its extensive tagging system, it becomes much easier to find any bookmark. First, you can choose to search just the title or the link. And you can further search under certain tags or type-based tags too. All of these search parameters can be used in tandem, which means you not only get great search, but search with filters! It’s an element which no other bookmark tool does as well as Raindrop. It could be just what you need to manage many years of bookmarks.

Why I Switched Despite Limited Platforms

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Right now, the only thing going against Raindrop as your go-to bookmarking service is the fact that it is available only as a Google Chrome extension. And to access your bookmarks, you need to go to the webapp or use the iPhone app, the latter of which is not yet available in English.

For these reasons, many of you might want to stick with Pocket or some other bookmarking service for now. However, I have switched to Raindrop. Why? I have gathered bookmarks over many, many years now and the ability to search and tag them, and also form collections, is invaluable to me. It’s better than any extension to speed-search bookmarks. More importantly, I have seen how much more I am interacting with my bookmarks now that they have been beautified by Raindrop. It’s no longer a little blue headline with a clickable link, it’s more than that now—and that difference alone makes me want to explore those bookmarks more often and even sort them into collections.

Download: Raindrop for Chrome (and bookmark Raindrop.io)

Let’s have a mini competition, shall we? How many years worth of bookmarks have you collected and what does your total bookmark number stand at right now? I’ll go first. Combining Pocket and my browser bookmarks, they go back to 2003. So that’s 11 years and a total of 4637 bookmarks. What’s your number?

Image Credit: Gayatri Krishnamoorthy