Google's Starred Search: Bookmarks on the Web

Google is always trying to transform ordinary Web searches into a personalized experience. To that end, the company has added a new feature called starred search that allows users to pluck preferred sites from Google's results page and turn them into synced bookmarks when logged into your account.

Starring a site moves it to a customized section at the top of the results page. Your stars also sync with Google Bookmarks and the Google Toolbar, making it easier to organize your Web wanderings. This feature is rolling out over the next couple of days and will soon be available for everyone.

Starred search is replacing Google's SearchWiki -- a counterintuitive feature introduced in 2008 that allowed users to reorganize the organic search results as a kind of bookmarking. Back then I wrote, "Once you get involved in SearchWiki's features, it becomes frustratingly meta and throws chunks of logic out the window... You can add your own URLs to your searches. How does that make sense? If you're searching for something, you shouldn't already know the destination URL, and if you do, why are you searching? And if you're continuously seeking the same exact thing, why not just bookmark the site?"

The point still stands. If you find yourself searching for the same old site, perhaps you should just bookmark it. But starred search's synchronization with Google Bookmarks and the Toolbar is a welcome add-on that streamlines the process.

Last month stars were added to Google News, allowing news junkies to share interesting topics and simultaneously keep the URLs for later. With stars in Gmail, Google Reader, and the Chrome browser, soon Google will be a galaxy of virtual bookmarks.

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