Skip to content(if available)orjump to list(if available)

Ask HN: Does anybody still use bookmarking services?

Ask HN: Does anybody still use bookmarking services?

477 comments

·June 23, 2022

If not, do you collect web pages some other way?

l72

I have started doing something completely different than using bookmarks. I set up yacy[1] on a personal, internal server at my home, which I can access from all my devices, since they are always on my wireguard vpn.

Yacy is actually a distributed search engine, but I run in 'Robinson mode' as a private peer, to keep it isolated, as I just want a personal search of only sites I have indexed.

Anytime I come across something of interest, I index it with yacy, using a a depth of 0 (since I only want to index that one page, not the whole site). This way, I can just go to my search site, and search for something, and anything related that I've indexed before pops up. I found this works way better than trying to manage bookmarks with descriptions and tags.

Also, yacy will keep a cache of the content which is great if the site ever goes offline or changes.

If I need to browse, I can go use yacy's admin tools to see all the urls I have indexed.

I have been using this for several months and I am using this way more than I ever used my bookmarks.

[1] https://yacy.net/

kybernetikos

This is great, and is something I've wanted for a while. I use pinboard which is supposed to have similar capabilities (click 'search full text', 'search mine' after turning on and paying for 'archiving'), but I've never been totally confident in it (pages would change, and the cached version was updated to a 404 page), and ended up letting my archiving subscription lapse.

I think google used to offer something that did this as well as search all your local files, but I think that went the way of all gThings.

mitchdoogle

There's also https://historio.us/ - it's essentially same as what OP is doing but it's as easy as bookmarking

kybernetikos

That does look pretty cool, and unusually for a SaaS has chosen a pricing I think is reasonable for the service (not everything should be $9 a month!).

Do you know if it does pdfs? That's a key thing I want in this kind of service.

danesparza

kybernetikos

That's a good one, but I was thinking of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Desktop

> Google Desktop was a computer program with desktop search capabilities, created by Google for Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows systems. It allowed text searches of a user's email messages, computer files, music, photos, chats, Web pages viewed, and the ability to display "Google Gadgets" on the user's desktop in a Sidebar.

Discontinued in September 2011

Veen

I'd love something similar to automatically crawl and index every site I visit. I'm forever losing stuff. I know I saw it but I can't remember where.

mttjj

This is Mac only and I have no affiliation other than I like this developer but your request reminded me that he just launched this app: https://andadinosaur.com/launch-history-book

prepend

That’s a really genius idea. I also like the author’s pricing mode. I was fearing some stupid “$10 is just the price of coffee. This is worth 24 coffees a year for the rest of your life” and have a reasonable $7 purchase price.

chillpenguin

I use BrowserParrot for this. Works really well.

https://www.browserparrot.com/

dingleberry420

> Right now we only support MacOS

hcarrega

loving :) thanks

thinkmassive

ArchiveBox documents how to automatically archive links from your browser history:

https://github.com/ArchiveBox/ArchiveBox/wiki/Usage#Import-l...

skinnymuch

Archive box can do authentication too. Haven’t checked if yacy can. Pinboard can’t. Pocket can.

nix23

Use the yacy-proxy funktion.

slammm

I had trouble with that, I ended up using this userscript https://github.com/JeremyRand/YaCyIndexerGreasemonkey

akrymski

I use Google for this. It's really annoyingly good at finding previously visited pages.

fudged71

Vortimo

a5huynh

A bit different, but I've been building something similar that runs locally: https://github.com/a5huynh/spyglass

You create some rules for topics you want to index and it'll go out and crawl them. Searching through it is a global hotkey away.

luckman212

Spyglass looks amazing! Thank you for this.

a5huynh

Thank you! Feel free to ping me on Github/Discord if you run into any issues, always looking to make it better :)

tecoholic

I really liked this setup. The only point of friction for me was adding the links to the index via the crawler everytime. So I created a Firefox Extenstion to do it directly from the address-bar.

If someone is interested, you can download it from here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/yacy-it/

Limitation: It currently supports only YaCy running on localhost and unprotected. You might have to configure CORS as outlined here -> https://github.com/tecoholic/yacy-it#configuring-yacy

Nition

What a good idea. A search engine like Kagi could support importing your existing bookmarks as a custom lense.

jrochkind1

Nice! How about getting it to automatically index your whole search history?

Not what you're going for -- you don't have a list of specifically opted-in 'bookmarks' to browse.

but I have often wanted "wait, what was that site involving X I was looking at maybe last week?"

pmoriarty

It would also be nice to be able to search through my aggregated browsing history on every device I use.

Maybe I should open a feature request to Google/Fracebook to provide an API hook for that, since they probably already have all that information anyway.

hbarka

This. I wonder if there is a way to direct my searches first to the domains I have ever visited. Oftentimes I will search for something that I am sure I’ve hit before but can vaguely remember which result set it was that scored my search.

Jarwain

My chrome history appears to aggregate my browsing across devices Anyways, so it should just be a matter of exposing that info

nix23

Yes works, you just need to use the proxy function of yacy, and everything get s indexed.

jrochkind1

Facebook doesn't share data out in APIs!

BiteCode_dev

Nice

I have wished for a while that browser would store the entire page of any bookmark you save automatically, and put a decent search engine on it. I wrote a script once to do it for my bookmarks, and it didn't even take that much space on my hard drive.

Your system could be a Firefox addon, kinda like what scrapbook used to be, but automatic. Even with a note system, and storing metadata, Zotero style, but without the need for the dual setup.

account42

How mozzilla is not pursuing that kind of innovation in Firefox itself is beyond me. Instead they continously try to ape the Chrome UI and collect telemetry without permission so that they can give you "exciting" "new" features like colorways.

johntash

Thanks for this recommendation! Do you only index things with a depth of 0? I just set Yacy up a couple days after seeing this post, and didn't realize what that meant at first.

Now I have 10s of 1000s of pages indexed after importing my bookmarks/history, and I'm wondering if it'd be more useful to _only_ index the pages I've visited/bookmarked, or if it'd also be good to crawl those sites further.

I guess one distinction would be whether or not I thought I could use Yacy as a full-time replacement for google/ddg. It'd be nice if I could index "everything", but then have a toggle to search only my bookmarks/history or something similar to that.

rsolva

I have tried many different solutions the last two decades, but none of of them really stuck or became useful over time. I kinda gave up and as a last ditch effort started to do the simplest thing I could think of: ctrl+D to add bookmarks in Firefox, jotting down a few keywords on each entry. No folders, no structure, just a flat list and some keywords.

A few months in I noticed how powerful this simple system was. When talking with someone else about a tool, github-repo or article I had seen but did no remember the name or title of, finding it back was suddenly a breeze. Since I keep my desktop and mobile bookmarks in sync, it it just a matter of typing in a keword in the address bar in firefox and it shows up instantly!

On desktop, you can limit the search to bookmarks only by starting with a *, which is helpful to avoid browser history etc.

I have really low bar for adding a bookmark now as the mental overhead is so low and it is done notime. It has become the second brain I always wanted :)

JamesLeonis

I also use Firefox bookmarks. To tack onto this, you can also select multiple tabs and bookmark them all into a bookmark folder.

jcul

Another related feature I find very useful is you can right click a bookmark folder and open all the bookmarks in separate tabs.

It's useful for grouping a set of pages that you use together, but only now and then.

MrVandemar

I also do this, but I don't like my browser cluttered up with thousands of accumulated bookmarks, many of which I don't return to. So I export them every month, delete the embedded favicons, and then wipe. If I want to find something I just grep for it.

A bit primitive, but it works for me.

JoshTriplett

I do this as well, and then Firefox Sync ensures I have the same bookmarks on laptop and mobile.

amazing_stories

Good tip. I just recently started tagging my bookmarks because I have too many to easily sort.

memcg

I use Firefox bookmarks too and sync so new devices are easy to setup. The "Bookmark search plus 2" add on allows you to search folder names and shows which folder a bookmark is stored in.

makapuf

I do this, as well as having an automated menu with 10 last bookmarks to continue reading things I just bookmarked

ngetchell

How do you accomplish this?

deamanto

Yep and also doing a ctrl+b you can search your bookmarks from the sidebar too

pratyushmittal

I (still) use Pinboard: https://pinboard.in/u:pratyush

  Reasons:
  1. Archives - those tutorials and guides stay when the original pages go 404
  2. API - I use the api to automatically post my bookmarks to my blog
  3. Full-text search: this is very very useful when needed
  4. Social Discovery: Search that niche website / app on Pinboard. It shows lots of other people who found that same thing as interesting. We can then follow them and subscribe to their favourites as RSS feed.

blakewatson

I’ve been a Pinboard customer since 2010 and I subscribed to the archival service several years. But archival seems to have stopped on my account. I think I emailed once but never received a reply (which I’ve heard is common). I love the philosophy of Pinboard and I also like Maciej. That said I recently decided to roll my own bookmarks tool with Wayback Machine archival capability.

https://github.com/blakewatson/bookmarks

eitland

Archival hasn't been working for months for me and nobody answers the mails (I've tried three times over the last year or so) so as much as I like pinboard.in at the moment I am looking for something else

klenwell

I use the API to send myself a daily email with a combination of random and anniversary bookmarks:

https://github.com/klenwell/pinprick

I find it a good way to keep in touch with past bookmarks and do some light maintenance.

AareyBaba

Maciej has a 'random' bookmarklet you can drag to your browser toolbar. See https://pinboard.in/howto/

tclancy

Same. Having imported my delicious bookmarks dating back to 2005 or so, I have a fairly large set of links that I try to tag consistently. I don't actually read a ton of them, but being able to full-text search or filter by combining tags makes it really useful for digging up things I barely remember coming across.

skinnymuch

Archiving can’t do pages that need authentication. Which are frequently the most important for me. Either way the archiving does not work very well.

I have over 30K bookmarks and add multiple hundreds a month.

some_furry

I love Pinboard. It has all the features I'd expect from a bookmarking service, but nothing superfluous. There's no upsell. There's no advertisement or JavaScript bloat.

Part of the reason for Pinboard's success is the lack of VC pressure for growth. I'm happy to keep paying for Pinboard indefinitely.

jng

I use pinboard as well. Early user of del.icio.us, I exported it all to pinboard and paid a one-time lifetime fee. Too many old links are dead, but that's the nature of the web, and I hope waybackmachine can help with some of them (I never paid for the full-text-archive feature of pinboard, it would have been a good idea but it's too late now). Sometimes it definitely helps me find some old highlights that still lurk in a shiny way in my mind.

windexh8er

Pinboard is phenomenal. I used to keep all my links in Simplenote but Pinboard is far superior for a number of the reasons listed here already. I may only search through it for something once a week but I find I tag things much more thoroughly in Pinboard than anything else I've used.

jnovek

I just became a Pinboard customer a few months ago!

I picked Pinboard because the UI is simple but functional. No 30mb blob of JavaScript. It pairs well with todo.txt… now I just need a simple Dropbox-based notes app to complete the trio.

pomatic

My incredibly unsophisticated, but surprisingly effective approach, is to share by email with myself (e.g. mail to myname+bookmark@mydomain.com).

Mail rules can then file them, I can add any relevant notes or hashtags to the mail body at the time I share the link, and the chronological ordering is helpful. Imap search is usually 'good enough' to turn up a half-remembered link or article.

I have been meaning to add an imap script to complement this with something like a simplepage archive, but have never got round to it.

icy

Hah, you might like my project https://forlater.email. :)

nso

Took me a while to parse the name, forlater is a verb meaning "leaving" in Norwegian. "Jeg forlater deg" = "I am leaving you"

jfk13

Hah, to me it looked like an ASCII-fied version of the Swedish word verb meaning "forgive".

"Jag förlåter dig" = "I forgive you".

null

[deleted]

aizatto

This is a really cool idea!

edit: feature/request

Scenario, if I save a link from HackerNews, I like to save the submission of it as well. I wonder if I send a HackerNews link to forlater.email; it can parse the article and remind me I got it from HackerNews.

For example, I'd submit "https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31852384" and in the email, it'd contain:

1. HackerNews link (so i can review the comments as well)

2. Original article link and content

food for thought, but love your product idea

icy

I don’t see why not—this seems easy enough. And thanks for checking it out! :)

videogreg93

For the record, just tried this with my protonmail and the response went straight to spam.

throwaway23234

small critical comment, if btc is not preferred, remove the option, or don't say that. That may be meaningful to you, but not to anyone else.

joebob42

It was meaningful to me. To me it meant "the other options are better for me, but I'll take payment in btc if that's the best option for you. Here's the link for that"

Not sure what the harm is?

LanternLight83

I like this, and will be changing my mail situation in the near future, when I might take some inspiration c:

blaydator

Email rocks for this. I have developed an app to email myself in one click : https://boomerang-app.io

moozeek

Thank you for making Boomerang. I use it all the time on my tablet and phone.

MattieTK

I dropped pinboard.in recently. The interface hasn't had improvements in years, the extensions are all third party, and the API if you wanted to build your own is pretty limiting. The mobile interface is pretty poor too.

I'm now moved over the Raindrop.io[1], which is another solo-developer outfit, but has had a lot of work put into it. It does all the same stuff Pinboard does (including page archiving but beside the social and public directory things... which nobody uses), but has a bunch of additional features. It has a much more complete API, a well maintained extension, and mobile apps! Definitely worth giving a go.

[1]: https://raindrop.io/

yokto

I've been paying for Raindrop for a few years and its organisation capabilities are really good: tags, collections, folders, search, etc. All in a quite polished UI!

d4rkp4ttern

I second this. Saving links for future reference is a very important part of my daily browsing, and I have found nothing better than Raindrop.

9935c101ab17a66

I’ve moved to raindrop too. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty great, and it gets pretty frequently bug fixes and feature releases.

alx__

Agreed it's much better service, I've been really enjoying it.

One feature I recently learned was Highlights [1]

You can select a passage of text on the page, then when bookmarked, it'll save the selected text. Allows for multiple highlights. And then visiting the page in the future those texts clips will then be highlighted again.

[1] https://help.raindrop.io/highlights/

janniks

Just here to +1 Raindrop. I’m crazy happy with it. 2y after starting paying for it atm

ecliptik

I use Raindrop.io and have it hooked up to NewsBlur and ArchiveBox as secondary backups [1].

This way whenever something is bookmarked it's saved in Newsblur and published to Dropbox, which ArchiveBox picks up every hour and saves a local copy and to archive.org.

1. https://www.ecliptik.com/bookmarking-with-raindrop/

megaman821

I also use Raindrop.io. It is the nicest looking of the bookmarking services.

kristofferR

That's really neat, I think I'm gonna implement that ArchiveBox solution myself. Thanks!

gutta-percha

+1 for Raindrop.io, it works very well.

night-rider

Pinboard is still quite active. If you need proof just go to /recent which is a live firehose and interesting to see what people are bookmarking. I use Pinboard and regularly export my bookmarks incase their servers are hacked/wiped/corrupted.

benrapscallion

As a paying customer, I would not recommend pinboard. Just look at some recent discussions on HN. It has been abandonware for years now.

laveer

I switched from Pinboard to Raindrop after not getting a response to pinboard support emails. I hope Pinboard’s creator is okay.

tsp

Same for me. Got an answer to my support requests months later. I left long time ago (to Raindrop).

sleepyhead

Probably busy tweeting

benrapscallion

Likewise. I switched to Raindrop.io.

mikestew

It has been abandonware for years now

I pay to keep the servers running, not so I can have something new and shiny every month. If it somehow quits doing what pinboard does, then I'll look at alternatives.

benrapscallion

Well, the archiving hasn’t been working.

incanus77

Paying customer ~4 years here (prior use for years). Happy with it. Use it for extensive private bookmarking.

rglullis

Is it failing for you? Would you switch to some other alternative?

santoshalper

Exactly, I hate the idea that software has to be constantly updated. That's how we end up with so many bloated messes that started out simple (cough dropbox cough). Pinboard is simple, and for my needs at least, perfect. If he kept it in maintenance mode forever, I'd be fine with that.

paulcole

Part of it is definitely that Pinboard as a service (feels to be at least) is in "maintenance mode" with minimal support. But what new features does a bookmarking service need?

Part of it is also that tech bros are upset that Maciej didn't go full-coinbase and is instead pretty active socially/politically.

I'm happy to keep using it and paying for it. Works fine for my needs.

null

[deleted]

ghaff

That actually reminds me I haven't done an export in a looong time and I should.

I was using Magnolia before Pinboard and it went down permanently. Fortunately, at the time, I was doing link blog posts once or twice a week so I was able to recover most of my links with a bit of work.

Crontab

I like Pinboard and its creator but he has been leaving me with the impression that it is no longer a priority for him.

nafizh

Paying customer. Really happy with it. None of the other options compare in terms of functionality and minimalism.

Eddy_Viscosity2

I use Zotero for this now. I have a bunch of sub-collections (e.g. technical, interesting, fitness, etc.) and when I see a webpage I like I use the plug-in to save to Zotero. Better than a bookmark because it also saves a snapshot of the webpage, and, I can easily cite it if I'm writing a document.

https://www.zotero.org/

sundarurfriend

Same. I don't even use the citation features of Zotero, it's purely a bookmark manager for me. I can choose whether to save the page with or without a snapshot, use both folders and tags for organization, add notes if I want to, and on supported sites (like Github), get an automatic bookmark summary too.

The interface took a bit of getting used to, but I learned some of the shortcuts, installed Zutilo [1], and ultimately just accepted the fact that I'll have to use the mouse for some things, as everything else about the program makes it worth it.

[1] https://github.com/wshanks/Zutilo

Eddy_Viscosity2

I hadn't heard of zutilo, I will check it out, thanks.

humanistbot

+1 for Zotero. If you are writing academic or technical documents and need to cite the documents you save in a standard format, it is a life saver.

TheCowboy

Do you or anyone else have thoughts on if Zotero would be too much for someone who doesn't need to write papers or cite documents? A large component of my day-to-day work is doing a lot of research and managing it for the duration of the project.

Eddy_Viscosity2

I highly recommend it, even for this use case. It takes a bit to get used to in how it works and setting so that it works well for your given workflow. For example, I'm a latex user so I had to add extensions to zotero so it can output to bibtex. But again, it wasn't that bad. Once its set up and you used it a few times, it easy and super useful.

I use it not only for web bookmarks, but as my main 'library' for all my documents. Even random scanned docs or even funny gifs I will store in zotero because I can tag them and put in notes so they are easy to find later.

ryankshaw

I have the pocket extension installed in chrome. Not so much because I actually refer back to the things I have added to it but so that when I have wayyyy too many tabs open I can click the "add to pocket" button on a few of them and not agonize about closing them.

jrochkind1

Do you pay for pocket or use the free tier? I hadn't heard of pocket before, but am looking at it... it's not clear to me what is limited in free tier/what the difference is. "Permanent library of everything you’ve saved" is listed as a feature of only the premium paid tier, leading me to wonder if that means your saved things disappear from the free tier after a certain amount of time?

gxqoz

I pay for the premium tier. I've been disappointed by their promises about content being retained forever. There's a big caveat that they don't actually keep paywalled content forever. This is annoying because I might save something that's not paywalled right now, highlight it, then come back a year later and I can't get to my highlights anymore. And they've been extremely unreliable in being able to retrieve all of my content from searching. Articles I'm positive I've saved routinely don't appear in my searches. There's some sort of caching going on where they don't include articles I haven't recently interacted with and they haven't been able to fix it for 3+ years. I really want to like Pocket but they just fail in this important use case for me.

youngian

Exact same, Pocket is so close to being the perfect service and yet so far. I have a huge archive and their search is just terrible. I will have a specific keyword from an article I know I have in there, and yet all I get from their results is utterly irrelevant articles. Making it worse, you can't filter the search results to, say, your Favorites, so I have to sift through all the random crap in my full archive.

I ask for that great article about leaded gasoline (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-most-important-scient...) and Pocket gives me an article about Rebecca Black instead (https://www.theawl.com/2011/03/arms-so-freezy-rebecca-blacks...).

probotect0r

I use the free tier, didn't even know they had a paid tier, and I have had nothing disappear.

Edit: They have more details here: https://help.getpocket.com/article/929-pocket-premium-perman...

Permanent library means they make copies of the articles and links that you save, so they are available even if the original goes down.

pbhjpbhj

Copying, and making available for money, someone else's webpage sounds a lot like copyright infringement?

dkarl

Same here, but I've started tagging certain kinds of links. I haven't used the tags much, except to look up recipes, so it remains to be seen how much mileage I'll get out of the tages, but I do like using Pocket as a kind of reading queue to help keep my tabs tidy.

Myrmornis

I've used Pocket for years and recently started paying for it because I thought I would like to use the indexing + search feature.

greenie_beans

same, and i can download the articles on my ereader

twblalock

I've pretty much stopped using bookmarks.

I used to have a large amount of bookmarks, carefully sorted into folders. I didn't use most of them on a regular basis, and the links broke over time. The end result was a bunch of broken bookmarks.

The combination of autocomplete, history, and web searches seems good enough to find anything I want.

chrisan

Ya, the only bookmarks I use these days are the ones in Firefox's bookmark toolbar which are more there for quick access purposes than saving interesting articles

klausjensen

I use Pinboard - and I always tag my bookmarks. Then I usually never look at them again.

MollyRealized

I suggest you don't. He's idlewords on this board and his comments speak for him (i.e. mocking his customers) -- he's effectively abandoned any work on Pinboard, including simple requests from paid users (of things as laid out instructions for the board), as well as ignoring error reports, etc.

bhaney

I just leave the tab open forever

bravasaurus

This is how I discovered Safari on iOS has a hard limit of 500 open tabs. Rather horrifyingly, when you try to open tab number 501, it asks if you want to close all open tabs.

TillE

It's strange to me that browsers - both desktop and mobile - aren't more aggressive about "paging out" unused tabs. I end up just restarting Firefox now and then when I'm not ready to do a full cleanup.

Even with the fancy mobile interface you really just need to store a thumbnail (plus the URL and title) for each tab, and even an older iPhone should have little trouble scrolling through thousands of tiny images.

pbhjpbhj

Firefox mobile does, it puts things behind an "inactive tabs" title on the tabs page.

In Chrome I use a tab suspender extension, in part because there was a bug that bit me alot where it would leak memory of you leave a tab active with a highlight. Don't know if the bug is fixed yet. Tab suspending makes my Surface Pro run better; seems like it shouldn't be needed.

hhh

I haven't ever had issues with hundreds of tabs on iOS. It just works for me.

zaphodq42

one of best comment I have read.

stoicjumbotron

I have 236 tabs open in Firefox right now :(