We’ve been hearing rumors about Google Stars — a new bookmarking service from Google — for quite a while now, but today, the project got a bit more real thanks to an extension the well-known Google watcher Florian Kiersch found earlier today. German blogger Carsten Knobloch has made the extension available for download and you can find a link to it at the end of his post here (installing this is at your own risk, of course).
Once installed, Stars is integrated into Chrome and takes over your regular Chrome bookmarks page and replaces it with a grid-like view of the sites you have already bookmarked in Chrome.
Adding bookmarks is as easy as clicking the Google Stars icon that now appears in the Chrome URL bar. This brings up a nicely designed dialog for selecting a folder in which to put the item, and the application takes a screenshot of every new bookmark, which then appears in the grid.
You can also drag items around and drop them into folders, but that’s about all the functionality you can expect when you install the extensions.
Unless you are part of Google’s dogfooding program, you don’t get access to the most interesting features the company seems to have planned for the service. According to the splash screen, Stars will offer some advanced search features, but more importantly, it will offer lots of features to help you organize your bookmarks automatically. Once launched, Stars will try to categorize your items automatically “so you can discover patterns in your content.” Sadly, the “filter” section doesn’t seem to work if you’re not part of the dogfooding program inside of Google, so it’s impossible to tell how exactly this will work.
The service will also automatically detect dead pages — which will be very helpful for those of us who have acquired lots of bookmarking crud over the years and moved it from browser to browser.
Unsurprisingly, there will also be an option to share bookmark collections with other users and to make them private or public by default.
It looks like Google wants to rethink browser bookmarks with this service and make them a bit smarter and a lot more social. I expect we will see Stars replace Chrome’s regular bookmarking feature in the long run. I don’t think this is going to be a standalone service or that it will be integrated into the Google Search page like the last product Google called Stars and then quietly shelved. Indeed, I don’t expect the “Stars” name to survive the transition into Chrome.
The extension already looks pretty polished, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Google released this around its I/O developer conference, which is just about a month away.
We have reached out to Google for a comment about this leak and will update the post once we hear more.