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I recently had to clean up my browser bookmarks. Over the years, transferring bookmarks through countless browsers, with Netscape Communicator, Mozilla, Safari, Camino, Google Chrome, Firefox and Edge, I collected well over 1000 bookmarks, even after deduplication. Even if I were bookmarking only worthwhile pages, all I needed was to create 50 per year to get to that unmanageable number.

After some quick cleanup, I deleted about 400 bookmarks, either because they were broken, or because I had no need to visit them anymore. There were also quite a few of those "default bookmarks" that are created when the browser is first used and gets collected once bookmark synchronization is turned on. Firefox is maybe the worst, unable to stop creating duplicates of at least 5 bookmarks each time I used it on a new machine, and twice if I launched it in French, which creates French-named variants of those "Welcome to Firefox" bookmarks.

There were a few sad bookmark deletions, or sites that I visited almost on a daily basis but eventually just vanished.

Speaking of bookmarks, there was (later named "Delicious"). It solved a problem that I somehow still have to this day: A place to store your bookmarks online, independent of a web browser account and easily accessible. There were a few tools that could synchronize a browser's bookmarks with your Delicious-hosted ones. There was also a competing service called, which I also used. The rapid growth and ultimate downfall of both services were due to their ability to share bookmarks publicly with other users, creating some kind of "social network of bookmarks". At first, the shared bookmarks were mostly for "look at this cool web site", but eventually turned into bookmarks of specific news articles, illegally shared copyrighted contents, and flat out spam.

There was, a site that was a kind of "custom home page" when such a thing was in vogue. You could drag and drop a few "widgets" on the page (my earliest recollection of such a feature on a web site), and you would also get an email address. I used it for a few years before using almost exclusively my own bookmarks (hosted on Delicious).

An especially sad bookmark deletion was Posterous. For a little while, this blog was hosted on it. Its unique feature was in the way it could use email to create a new blog or blog post. Creating your blog and writing in it could be done using solely by sending emails to the service, as it would automatically create an account and web site for you. It also meant that it was trivial to add a post to my blog from any device, especially from my smart phone with a severely limited data plan of 50 MB per month. Eventually, Posterous was overwhelmed by spam, lost too much money, and finally acquired and shut down by Twitter.

Bloglines was the first web-based RSS client I used, even before I migrated to Google Reader. Considering how small RSS feeds are, running those RSS reader sites should be relatively cheap to maintain, so it's difficult to understand why they both closed. I migrated to Feedbin since and I use it almost every day. There are still a few alternatives, most with some free options.

Finally, there's Grooveshark, the first web-based music streaming site I used. In its last few years, it ran on pure HTML 5, without the need to install Flash. Since its library was from user-uploaded files and they only reacted to DMCA takedowns, it was just a matter of time before they were sued and closed. After that, I moved to Rdio (another broken bookmark), then Google Play Music (closed and folded into YouTube Music) and finally Apple Music which eventually was made available as a web site.

Published on February 19, 2024 at 12:00 EST

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