We’d already heard rumors about Google Stars, the tech giant’s revamped bookmarking system for the Web, but now the feature is out in plain sight… almost. An official Stars extension for Chrome was briefly available in the Chrome Web Store, and while it’s now been pulled by the powers-that-be, many users have already given it a whirl.
There’s still no official announcement or acknowledgement from Google, but Stars looks to be a supercharged version of the bookmarking feature already available in Chrome. It adds a dash of the ‘read it later’ functionality found in apps such as Instapaper and Pocket, giving users the ability to save articles for future reading as well as bookmark sites of interest.
If the leaked extension is anything to go by then the tool operates very simply. As is the case now, you can click the star in the Chrome address bar to save a site or page for future reference. What is new is the ability to view your stored pages in a visual grid and search through them more easily. It’s possible to create a series of folders for your bookmarks, as well as share them with others.
One part Instapaper, one part Chrome bookmarks and one part Google Reader then. Although the extension can no longer be accessed through any official channels, several other sites are now hosting it — try the Google+ page of Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo or the German Caschys Blog to get your hands on it.
It’s almost certain that the extension and the Stars platform are not fully finished yet, so you test it at your own risk — while it’s unlikely to melt down your computer, bear in mind that some of the functionality may not work as intended for now. The indications are that Google will unveil Stars officially at its annual I/O developer conference at the end of June.