Google Lets You Manually Save & Tag Results Through New Bookmarks Feature

Google Adds Tagging from Nathan over at InsideGoogle is a nice look at how Google now gives you the ability to manually save results via a new "Bookmarks" feature and assign labels and notes to them. He calls it tagging, while Google uses the term "labels." I suppose the only difference is that tags are often used for content shared with others, and so far, none of what you tag within Google Search History gets shared.

First, the how it works part. You have to be using Google Personalized Search, also explained more in our past article, Google Relaunches Personal Search - This Time, It Really Is Personal.

If you are using that, you'll automatically have your searches recorded. However, the new Bookmarks lets you manually save any results you might want to file away.

Next to any item in in your Search History results, you'll see a star. Click on the star, and you'll have saved the item. You'll also see a new Edit link appear. Click on that, and you can add labels/tags or organize items and also notes.

For example, I could save items about cars under the "cars" label and items about mp3 players under the "mp3 players" label. I could also assign an item with both labels, if I wanted to. After doing this, I'll then have these labels showing up under the Bookmarks heading on the left-hand side of the page. Clicking on a label link brings back the results I've tagged this way.

I found the label system buggy, however. Supposedly, you could type in a bunch of labels separated by commas, such as:

apples, bananas, oranges

In fact, text in the label box encourages you to do just that. But if I try to under commas (using Firefox 1.6), they simply won't take. Instead, I have to save with one label, reedit, add a comma and the next label, save, and so on. Hopefully, it's either just a problem I'm having or a problem everyone's having that will get fixed soon.

None of the labels or tags you save for a result will show up if you do a regular search and see a result you've tagged in the future, as how Yahoo's My Web works. I thought that's how Ask Jeeves also worked, but it doesn't appear to be the case when I looked again today. But like Yahoo, you can save and tag and annotate results with the Ask Jeeves My Jeeves service.

Overall, Google's playing catch-up here. It's definitely nice to have the new feature, and I want that in addition to automatically saving, but there's no new ground being broken with this. Indeed, what's especially needed is for the feature to jump out of being within the Search History area and into Google's main results.

What I mean is this. If you're logged into Google and using personalized search, you can't save anything in the results you get back. Instead, you can only save and edit results that are automatically saved after you click on them.

I want the feature to evolve similar to what you see at Yahoo, where you can manually save a result and annotate it right within the regular results page.

Google recently mimicked Yahoo's Block feature by adding a "Remove result" link to the listings anyone sees when using Google Personalized Search. Making a step beyond that to add Save, Label & Note buttons similar to what Yahoo does, as well as Ask Jeeves and even AOL, is a no brainer step to make.

About the author

Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

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