This post is part of The 30.000 Word Challenge. See all the articles in the series! 

 

Mussabekov Rustem. Keep that name in mind, we’ll get back to it soon.

Ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to share a bunch of links with someone, but couldn’t find a good way to do it? Bookmarks are great, but they’re not very shareable by nature. Can Raindrop change that? Read on and let’s find out!The idea of collecting and sharing bookmarks has been dealt with a few times. Opera has done it. Google has had a (somewhat unsuccessful) stab at it. And then there’s Internet Explorer’s implementation

There was a recent article on the DSM Group Blog about collecting bookmarks and I was surprised Raindrop wasn’t on that list. So here is my Raindrop review, after using it for the past 4 months.

1. Getting started

Right from the get go, I was impressed by the beautiful interface. If the best UI is no UI, Raindrop is nearly there. Clean lines, material design-like thinking and simple organization.

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The bookmarks can be even bigger by the flip of a switch.

It was important to have a very good handle on how everything is organized. At the same time, too many options or a cluttered interface meant I wouldn’t have a fun time using it (see the del.icio.us changes over time).

Sometimes you find the right tool for the job and sometimes you find a great tool and find a use for it. This was the case for Raindrop – I was searching for a better bookmark manager for myself, but ended up using it as part of a Knowledge Sharing Initiative at work.

This led me to think about the ways I could integrate it. You can’t upload images for files into the system. So it’s not for file backups. You also can’t (from what I’ve tried) link to your internal server. But you can link to private albums or pictures on Imgur (for example). I’ve used this method to share previous designs we’ve worked on over the years, without fear that someone might’ve accidentally deleted those files from our backup server.

Getting started with Raindrop is painless and free (more on Pricing later).

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Adding a new bookmark only takes a few clicks.

The newly updated interface makes it dead simple to save a bookmark. Simply press the + sign at the bottom of each screen, select a Collection and save it.

Once you’ve saved one bookmark, you want to save more. The pokemon card type collecting interface is highly addictive. Animations for adding a bookmark, rearranging and moving them around are sleek and give you a sense that something cool has happened. I’ve gotten this fun and cool feeling throughout the app.

Collections are the core of the app. Think of them as folders. And then Nested Collections are sub-folders (folders within folders). Tags are little elements you use to categorize your pages even more.

Here’s how I use all of these features together:

I have a Collection called Marketing. Within it there’s a Nested Collection called Social-Media. I have 3 bookmarks saved here about Pinterest. One has the tag Beginner, another Advanced and the last one (you’ve guessed it) Expert.

Collections can be private or public. And you can share (Nested) Collections with only a few people. For example, I’m sharing the Design Collection with designers from work, but the Human Resources Collection with all my colleagues, as there are information there I feel everyone should know about.

2. Features

  • Visual bookmarks and nested collections
    The visual element is what keeps you coming back. Being able to switch from one view type to another gives you more control over the look and feel of Raindrop.
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Switch from view type at any time.

  • Tagging ability and smart search
    When you add a bookmark, it can be helpful to also add a tag to it. Not only have organization, but also provide context. The smart search feature allows you to filter through all your content (pages, articles, photos and tags, by using the “#” sign before a search). Add in autocomplete and you’ve got a powerful and fast searching tool.
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Raindrop finds text in all your titles and tags.

  • Import/export bookmarks
    Connecting a browser to Raindrop is easy and you’ll get a new collection called “Shared collections”. You can then move those into your own version of bookmark organization. You can also share an RSS feed of all your bookmarks or specific Collections.
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Importing bookmarks from other sources is about a click away.

  • Browser extensions
    If you can think of a browser or browser engine, it’s on this list: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Yandex. The extension adds a little icon you can use to view your bookmarks. But you can also save pages, but it’s not really a bookmarklet. Either the functionality was changed or Chrome handles it differently. I use this method instead to add bookmarks, besides the app itself.
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Extensions provide a simple way to glance at your bookmarks, without opening up the full app.

  • Mobile Apps
    Android? Check. iOs, Blackberry and Windows Phone? No, not really. There’s a native app for Android, but all the other mobile operating systems require you use the bookmarklet. Oh, and there’s an app for Mac OS X. All apps are free and work pretty well, I haven’t had any issues with them – though I only used the bookmarklet system and the Android version. iOS version coming soon.
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The Android app is fine, I just preferred the desktop experience.

  • Dropbox backup
    Sure, Raindrop is SSL secure, but nothing is 100% guaranteed. So as an extra measure of safety, you can connect your Dropbox account to backup all your bookmarks. It creates a special .HTML file, that you can download and import back into Raindrop, if anything happens to your account. I guess other backup systems (Google Drive), would’ve been nice, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker – and could be an improvement in the next versions. This is a paid feature.
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If more backup solutions show up soon, you can rest assured your bookmarks are safe.

3. Pricing

I’m not a designer. I have design skills, but I wouldn’t consider myself one. However, I did get the PRO subscription even before I knew what I would do with Raindrop. It felt so nice to be in that environment.

Adding bookmarks, creating collections, adding descriptions and tags…it all took me back to when I was 10 or 12 years old collecting stamps. Such a satisfying feeling to have books full of stamps – big, small, special, ordinary, colorful or black and white.

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Simple pricing for awesome features.

Oh, and remember Mussabekov Rustem from the beginning of this review? He’s the only person working on it – designer, developer, founder, you name it. So if you need another reason to upgrade, remember you’re helping a one-man-army build a kickass product!

4. Support quality

I’ve only had a few support questions for the developer and the response came quick. It might’ve been thanks to the priority I was given, as a PRO member. But nonetheless, there’s nothing bad I can say about the support.

5. Final verdict

If you enjoyed collecting trading cards or stamps as a little child, you’ll love this. If you like things organized and out of your way, you’ll love this. If you’re a designer with pixel-perfect objectives, you’re going to love this.

I think you get the point. Time to switch from all your external, non-browser based, bookmarking tools. I’ve seen the future of online bookmarking and it’s Raindrop.

Just curious – what are you using to save all your bookmarks? And what are your numbers – how many years have you been saving them and how many pages do you have saved? For me it’s 4 months and 464 (I’m starting fresh with Raindrop).