Get a better bookmarks manager, share bookmarks with teams

Web browser bookmarks always seem to become a disorganized muddle as they grow. Toby offers a different way to manage Chrome bookmarks and you can share, sync and collaborate with teams.

Toby is a free extension for Chrome (it may work with other Chrome based browsers too), that provides a radically different way to create and manage website bookmarks. This is not your usual bookmarks manager. It ignores any existing bookmarks in Chrome and does things its own way.

Organizations and spaces

After installing the Toby Chrome extension and signing up for a free account (this is needed for syncing), Toby appears whenever a new tab is opened. It becomes the default new tab page. This is where you create and manage bookmarks, open them, organize them and share and sync them with others.

You create an organization, which can be an organization of one if there is just you using it, but it is designed for companies, departments, teams, clubs and other groups of people.

Create a space in Toby Chrome extension for managing bookmarks
Create spaces and invite other people to it

Spaces are created within an organization and they are used to store collections of bookmarks in their own separate spaces. A space can be created for any purpose, such as work or personal use, privately for you, or shared with teams or departments, projects, and so on. Whatever you need. Spaces are separate from each other, so they can be used to keep work and personal bookmarks separate, or to create different sets of bookmarks for different teams, projects or departments.

Setting permissions for members in Toby Chrome extension
Set members permissions in Toby Chrome extension

Other people can be invited to a workspace, such as work colleagues, team members, and so on. They can be given full access or made admin. There isn’t a lot of difference between the two permissions levels and the main one seems to be the ability to manage organization members for admins. Full members can do pretty much everything else.

Collections of bookmarks

Select a space, which can be shared or private, and then you can create collections of bookmarks within it. A collection is a bit like a folder and it can be expanded or collapsed to show or hide the bookmarks within it.

Toby Chrome extension for managing bookmarks
Create organization, add spaces, store bookmarks in collections

Bookmarks are added to collections, but not in the usual way. A panel on the right side of the Toby new tab page lists the browser’s currently open tabs. These can then be dragged and dropped into a collection. It is a similar process to organizing bookmarks into folders.

Expand a collection and there are several different views, such as tiles and list, and several different ways to sort them, such as date, alphabetical, your own order, and so on. Collections can be moved between spaces.

A single bookmark in a collection can be clicked to open a new tab or all of the bookmarks can be opened in multiple tabs in one go. This is a great way to open your favorite bookmarks or a set you need for a particular project or task.

Collections of bookmarks in Toby Chrome extension
Tag bookmark collections, export or move them

A collection of bookmarks can be exported to a standard HTML bookmarks file. This provides a way to back them up and also to transfer them to Chrome’s normal bookmark manager. Chrome can import the bookmarks file.

Another useful feature of collections is the option to share them. A link to a collection can be created and this can then be copied and shared with others. Anyone, even non-members, can view the collection if they have the link and the bookmarks appear as tiles on a web page.

Bookmark tags and notes

You might create many collections of bookmarks, so they can be tagged to make them easier to view. A Starred tag is provided, but you can create your own tags and add them to collections. Select a tag and only those bookmark collections with it are listed.

Notes can be created in collections. They are simple and plain text, but they could be useful, especially when collections are shared with teams and work colleagues. Explanations, documentation, read-me and other notes could be added to a collection.

Final thoughts

Toby provides a new way to store and manage bookmarks and some people may prefer the way it does it. There are more features, like different ways to organize bookmarks, different sort and view options, spaces to keep collections of bookmarks separate, and so on.

The best feature is the ability to add extra people to spaces so that you can share and sync bookmarks between friends, work colleagues, teams and so on. You can also create notes for bookmark collections, which will be useful for shared collections and they could contain rules or information for the team.

This is a great Chrome extension. It may work in some other Chrome-based browsers too.

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