Yahoo! Bookmarks Beta

by Krishna on January 27, 2007

A few weeks back, I complained that Yahoo! Bookmarks was the lowest on my ratings of good bookmarking software. I learnt since that there was a beta version available. The initial good impression it conveyed convinced me enough to move all my bookmarks into it (from IE and Live Favorites) and also install the Yahoo! beta toolbar. Until a few hours ago, I was going to write a good review about it, but as I started using the application more, that feeling started to diminish until I finally hit the “screen of death”.

Application error — symfony application failed to start properly”

I am not sure what caused the failure, but maybe it comes up after 90 minutes of using the application. 🙂

Anyway, here’s a quick look at what I liked, first:

  • The beta toolbar has a favorites dropdown that displays the favorites in a tree structure of folders. There are menu items to add a link to any folder directly. A frequently used section provides easy access to the most recently visited pages.
  • Yahoo! bookmarks supports both folders and tags and allows organizing by either one.
  • There are 4 different views for the bookmarks — two of which show a thumbnail impression of the website. [One problem though is that some sites do not display the thumbnail image immediately.]
  • You can type your own description.
  • There is Move, Merge, Delete and Rename functionality for the folders.
  • The Bookmark functionality integrates into the Internet Explorer context menu.

What I didn’t like:

  • The site crashing — I am still not able to access it, although I can get to my bookmarks through the toolbar. Hopefully somebody on the Yahoo! Bookmarks product team is reading this and fixes it.
  • There are 5 textboxes for typing tags. Why not just have one long textbox and allow the user to separate the tags by commas? That is the standard on most sites.
  • I cannot change the URL when I try to edit the bookmark.
  • There is no way to customize how many bookmarks appear in a view. Right now, 20 bookmarks appear by default. If I have 21 bookmarks in a folder, I have to click Next to get there.
  • When I merge a folder with another, the original folder should go away. Now I have to delete it manually.
  • No drag-and-drop functionality for moving folders.
  • No right-click on a folder to perform various functionality. Now I have to click on the folder, wait for it to finish loading and then click Edit.
  • The lack of right-click functionality makes it really difficult to organize a folder full of unrelated bookmarks. In such a case, I want to delete some of them, move some of them and rename some of them. But each time, I have to keep using the buttons.
  • If I want to edit a bookmark, I have to first select its checkbox and click Edit. Why not have an icon against each bookmark to make it easier? Since I cannot edit multiple bookmarks at the same time, this doesn’t make any sense. Also how about a Delete button/icon against each bookmark, while you are at it?
  • If I want to create a folder within a folder, it makes me choose the parent folder again although I am inside the folder.
  • The exported file from Live Favorites didn’t get imported. I had to import it into IE, export it out and then import it back into Yahoo! Bookmarks.
  • Like Live Favorites, Yahoo! Bookmarks Beta also has the ridiculous feature of using a confirmation message on the screen itself instead of using a standard JavaScript confirmation box. 99% of the time, I really want to delete something and to have to wait for the message to appear because of a server round-trip is irritating.
  • The site is slow.

Here is an advice to the testers of this product: Test it with real data with hundreds of bookmarks and at least tens of folders and tags. Try re-organizing the bookmarks into a new set of folders. Then you will understand how difficult it becomes.

In spite of my difficulties, I was still willing to spend the effort to re-organize the bookmarks because the Beta toolbar makes it really convenient once the initial setup is done. However, there is very little cost to leaving a bookmarking site (unlike an email web application) and joining another because of the ease of export and import. So Yahoo! should do a better job here before they come out of beta.

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