Chrome users attack Google over revamped bookmarks manager

For now, users can restore the old list-style manager, but that's probably just temporary

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Credit: Google

Google's redesign of the Chrome bookmarks manager has begun rolling out to the browser's users running the most polished version. And those users are very, very unhappy.

They're more than that, actually. They hate the change, tossing off words like "disastrous," "hideous" and "horror" to describe their impressions.

"I don't care how smart or sleek or cool you think the new interface is, you just made it much HARDER to use," groused Bill Wiltsch on a long Chrome support discussion forum thread. "If this does not get easier quickly, I will be switching browsers."

"HATE -- HATE -- HATE the new format. Again -- HATE IT!!!!!!!!!" stormed MaryMom628, who apparently had no shortage of exclamation marks.

The new bookmarks manager sports a redesigned user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), with large thumbnails of each site that appear as "cards" -- folders into which bookmarks are automatically organized -- and improved search that lets users retrieve bookmarks not only by title but also by content on a saved page. The large visual-oriented cards are reminiscent of the thumbnails shown in Chrome's new tab page.

The previous bookmarks manager was a simple list view of URL titles, the approach most other browsers continue to take.

Google has been working toward the redesign for almost a year, first leaking it as a Chrome add-on in May 2014, then in November pushing the dramatically different manager to the beta build of Chrome. At the time Google declined to say when the new manager would appear in the stable channel.

Without any fanfare, it swapped out the old for the new manager in Chrome 42, which landed April 15. Not all users have yet been served the revamp, however, as Google is rolling it out in stages; some Computerworld staffers, for example, continued to see the old list-style manager today.

Although Chrome beta users complained loudly last year, they were but the opening act to the broader stable channel's users. Nearly 430 people have authored almost 700 messages on the forum thread in the last week, with the overwhelming majority rejecting the new look and feel.

"It's a terrible update," opined Zoo Titeres on Monday.

"You people are beyond belief," ranted bross93 yesterday. "You people are a bunch of know nothing kids who always beleive [sic] that you improve on things and always make things worse because you arrogantly have no idea how people use it."

"This is a terrible and unnecessary change. It makes what should be a simple task needlessly complicated," added Tragabigzanda1. "It's slowing down my productivity!"

Google's one concession to users' complaints from last year: It added the option to switch to a "list" view that, while not a restoration of the old bookmarks manager, eliminates the visuals many found so distracting and space consuming.

For now, Chrome users who don't like the new bookmarks manager can restore the list view by typing chrome://flags in the address bar, hitting Enter, then searching for the flag labeled Enable Enhanced Bookmarks and setting it to Disabled. The old-style manager will return after Chrome is restarted.

But those flags are notoriously temporary. It's likely that Google will banish the flag, just as it did the one that restored the previous new tab page after a redesign debuted in September 2013. Five months later, Google removed the flag, riling users once more.

Just as it has done again.

"When you are convicted of a crime and severely punished you usually know why, or it isn't justice," wrote MartinGM on the forum thread. "Google, what did I do wrong?"

Google's new bookmark manager for Chrome

What the … ? Google swapped in a visual-loaded, card-style bookmarks manager for the old list-like UI in Chrome last week.

This story, "Chrome users attack Google over revamped bookmarks manager" was originally published by Computerworld.

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