16 April 2011

Chrome bookmarks dropped from Google Docs

Yesterday I had a not-so-pleasant experience with and the whole “data-in-the-cloud” concept. I was searching for the address and phone number of a dental office, which is never an enjoyable moment per se. I distinctly remembered saving a bookmark to their website in Google and I had sync on; so while away from my home computer I expected to find it online in Google Docs. Much to my surprise, the folders there no longer list my Chrome bookmarks and a simple search quickly confirmed that the feature was dropped. Judging from the reactions in the help forums, it happened sometime at the end of January. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed by this decision, as were many others.

Dear Google Engineers,

Why in the world was this Google Docs functionality removed from Chrome Bookmarks? Isn't the idea with Cloud Computing to give users more control over their information from ANY computer without having to be forced to install programs? With this change, bookmarks are only accessible if you download and install a program.. What if I'm on a restricted computer? Like at a library or similar place that doesn't allow installations of Chrome? Sadly, you now force users to install Chrome to simply access their bookmarks. I would expect that from a non-sync-able browser, but not a Cloud Sync browser! Maybe this was intentional, since you would prefer users not to access Google data without using approved Google products, but it's very "Microsoft-like" to control user data so it is only accessible from your own software.

Very disappointed.
Yes - I too am VERY disappointed that Google would remove this important data synchronization of our bookmarks within our Google Docs library! Are we to assume Google just feels because we don't directly pay for many of these features, they can just remove and add them as they see fit! ...not a very confidence inspiring way to treat your loyal fans and customers. :-(
I agree with all comments above, I can not install Chrome either at work and on internet cafe PCs when travelling, bookmarks in google docs was an invaluable service. I didn't ask for it to be there in the first place but since you did put it in my private google docs space and have now taken it away I feel that you have stolen my data in some way - just as if you were taking away one of my document folders. I was really starting to buy into the whole google cloud service, I have even paid for extra storage space but, if Google feel that they can remove features in an instant without it seems even really consulting it's user base then it becomes more evident to me why I should never keep all my digital eggs in one basket. I think I am going to change my browser of choice back to firefox, they seem to be far less draconian with their products.

Docs wasn’t the most appropriate place for bookmarks, but it was nice to have them there anyway. Unfortunately, Google Docs was never very consistent in it’s evolution, dropping support for vital features like offline editing and confusing users with two basically incompatible formats. I guess this is just another example of that; and another reason why I don’t envision moving important office work to this particular cloud service.

As for my original problem, I solved it by resorting to my social graph, since the sister of a friend works at that particular dental office. I also could have called somebody to find out the phone number; but either way the situation should raise some questions for Google: while removing features, even small ones, are they considering which service would fill the gap? In this case, I suspect they wouldn’t like the answer.

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