I’ve become quite interested in Google’s new Web History feature.

What it does is essentially record every site you visit and is enabled through the Google Toolbar for Firefox. So it’s like your browser’s History, but online and reaching as far back as when you enabled it.

Google was already basically tracking what I was doing since I had Google’s PageRank feature enabled in the toolbar, so I’m not too worried about that. If I do want Web History to stop recording, I can Pause it and also Remove Items from the history at any time.

Google has also implemented a StumpleUpon-style suggestion feature called Trends which I’m not too interested in and also provides stats of sites most visited etc.

Google Web History for Bookmarking & Monitoring

Bookmarking

If you look at your Web History list, you are able to Star items as you would in Gmail or Google Reader. This puts them into your Google Bookmarks where you can tag and provide a description for each item.

Now, I’m not a Google Bookmarks user – I’ve been using Del.icio.us for a number of years – however, this is swaying me to move everything over to Google.

Why? Because I’m lazy.

Manually bookmarking everything I like or want to read later is almost a chore. It’s at least 3 mouse clicks! Web History makes it one – excluding tagging etc.

I like this because I can go about my surfing and daily activities, and then at the end of the day, peruse my Web History, then Star and Label what I want to add to Google Bookmarks.

It’s kind of the GTD way to bookmark.

However, I don’t like how Google Bookmarks displays Labels on the side – a Tag Cloud would be nice. Plus I don’t like how after I imported all my Del.icio.us bookmarks to Google they all come under the same day[today] instead of keeping their respective bookmarked dates.

But I can search Bookmarks and my Web History from any computer now.

Monitoring

This is for those with kids who want to make sure they’re surfing safely.

Google Web History provides an RSS feed for everything that comes through there. Monitoring what your children are doing [through Firefox] is as simple as subscribing to the feed in your favorite feed reader.

It’s easily subverted if your kids know about it, but for all intents and purposes, it works. Web History will run independently from different Google Accounts, so if your kids do use Gmail and login, the History will still be updated.

Productivity

Also it might be beneficial to be able to see exactly how much time you spend on certain pages and work. Would you procrastinate less if you were being watched?

Improvements?

  • Integration with my browser’s History.
  • Bookmark tag cloud.
  • Trends Suggestions based on a network and sites browsed, rather than just on searches

Web History – [Google]

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