I will gush about Google Chrome’s Tab Groups feature at every turn if I have the opportunity. I’ve fallen in love with them and as someone who prefers to turn all of my favorite websites into an icon and use them as separate windows instead of tabs, this came as a surprise to me. Now that I can do both, I’m in productivity heaven. To take all of this yet a step further, Google is now working on letting you add full tab groups to your Reading List so that you can recall them all later!
Anyone who is familiar with Toby Tab Manager will know that having the ability to collapse full browsing sessions into a ‘Read it Later’ style system and label it based on the topic is pretty incredible. Before tab groups existed, I was always frustrated that you couldn’t even organize your tabs based on the topic you were researching. Now that they’re a thing, I’ve been frustrated that you haven’t been able to clear out tab groups and recall them later. With collapsing tab groups and the ability to freeze them when they’re collapsed, this wasn’t so much about resource management for me – rather it was about the ability to feel as though I’m collecting things and that I have bookmarks without ascribing to the antiquated bookmarking system logic (yes, I know you guys love traditional bookmarks, sorry!)
“…while I previously mentioned that I enjoy the fact that they remain out in the open, I would absolutely love the option for storing them on the new tab page as Toby does. Out of sight and out of mind is sometimes a good thing. I often find myself having too many tab groups, primarily when I switch gears entirely. Having several groups for a single topic is great, but it’s not always how I use them. You could say I ought to be using bookmarks at that point, and if Google allowed for tab groups to be sent to bookmarks or Collections with one click and then restored, I probably would, but this feature currently does not exist.”Me, four months ago
Anyway, now that Google has their shiny, new Reading List feature, it looks like they won’t be using Collections to make this happen. Reading List allows you to save articles on the web to read later a new Chrome repository CL shows that you may soon be able to add full tab groups into the Reading List section at the top right of the browser for later recall. Presumably, you will be able to right-click on a tab group and choose ‘add to Reading List’, but that’s just an educated guess. So long as this doesn’t turn out like our beloved Kaleidoscope (Rest in pieces Google TV on the web…for now), I and other productivity nerds like me may one day be able to uninstall Toby Tab Manager in place of this new feature!
Read later: add feature flag for tab group support in reading list.
Bug: 1187584Chromium Repository
Honestly, though, Toby is so fantastic and has such a colorful and fun interface that I don’t believe the Chrome Reading List functionality will soon replace it. I would have rather Google buy out Toby and start implementing it directly into the browser because it’s already so well developed and its user experience is top-notch. I hope that the Reading List feature for Chrome gains a full-screen experience or is allowed to appear on the new tab page like Toby does because having it relegated to a small pop-up at the top of the browser is fine and all, but it makes me feel a tad claustrophobic. My guess is that you will be able to see your tab groups as colored tab headers, and then click them to expand all of the tabs it contains like an accordion before choosing to restore them to the browsing session.
The fact that this feature is even in development gets me super excited. Though many readers have vehemently opposed the death of the traditional bookmark, things like Google Collections and Reading List prove that it’s certainly on the minds of many big tech companies. Any website you visit frequently can and should be turned into a windowed app on your Chromebook, and anything you want to read later…well, you should add it to Reading List. To complete that trifecta in regards to browsing sessions being saved for later which incorporates both frequently used functionality-based websites and things you’re researching, adding Tab Groups to Reading List would take care of it nicely.
Most of my bookmarks are pretty much things from years and years ago that I’m hoarding and forgot about anyway since our brains don’t exactly understand the best place or time to recall pertinent information like a computer does. I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone in that regard, even if your bookmarks are super organized. As I always say – information should be stored where it is most useful and relevant, and bookmarks, while utilitarian, just aren’t fitting the bill for modern data management.