Google’s Collections aren’t exactly a new feature. They’ve been around for quite some time without a whole lot of the spotlight shined on them. As is per usual for Google, this is one of countless little hidden features that users don’t tend to know about or use on a regular basis. As it turns out, however, Collections can be a useful tool to replace something like Pocket or the now-deceased Google Spaces (which we loved, by the way) as a tool that can act as bookmarks on steroids. With a nice interface, sorting options, and the ability to quickly tuck things away, I could see using Collections on a daily basis for both personal and work reasons, if it weren’t for one nagging problem.
Before we get into that, however, let’s take a quick look at the revamp Google is announcing for the feature. From The Keyword:
Using AI, Collections in the Google app and mobile web now groups similar pages you’ve visited from Search related to activities like cooking, shopping and hobbies. You can choose to save these suggested collections so you can come back to them later.
If you’d like to check out what Google’s AI has already grouped up for you in your own personalized collections, you can open the Google app (or in your Discover feed on the left side of your homescreen, click your profile) and then select Collections at the bottom or navigate to google.com in Chrome and look in the left-side hamburger menu. Either way, you get the same interface with your new suggested collections up top and the ability to manually create your own collection below.
For me, when I came across this, I immediately began creating collections that Google’s AI suggested and a few that I wanted to use for work. After making all my folders, I ran a few searches, clicked the link I wanted, and hit the bookmark up top to drop the page in a collection. No offense to Pocket or Spaces, but having this built right in feels like a direct replacement to both of those services and I was ready to get everything set up and ready to use immediately. This was all done right in the Google app, mind you.
I hurried to open up Chrome and navigate to some of the bookmarks I have for some article ideas, clicked share in the sidebar menu, and quickly realized that there is no option currently available to send articles from Chrome to one of the Google Collections. Are you serious, Google?? Collections are clearly a web-based idea and interface and I can access my Collections via the web with no need of the Google app, but I can’t simply drop URLs from Chrome into it? Ugh.
Now we have this great organizational tool that looks great, works in the app and on the web identically, yet doesn’t leverage the main tool most users work from when saving content from the web: their browser. I can’t even begin to understand how this option was left out. They could implement it via Bookmarks or simply via the share interface: I don’t care. Just give us the ability to drop web content from our primary web browser into your web-driven content curator, Google. Do the thing that makes sense.
I’m hopeful that this is on the way, but I must say this feels like such a Google thing to do. I imagine that in the months ahead, assuming people begin using this revamped service, there will be a clear-cut way to send web content from the Chrome browser to you Collections. Hell, Collections could eventually take the place of Bookmarks and maybe that’s the long-term plan. But putting out an announcement about these new Collections (which are great, by the way) without figuring out how to link it all up to Chrome is such a swing and a miss. I want to use Collections. I do. But I guess I’ll just wait around until they are implemented the right way and keep using Pocket for now.