We all come across useful information on the web, but the
way we save and share links varies. Casual web users save links in their web
browser for personal use. People who use multiple systems sync bookmarks among
systems, using tools such as Chrome Sync. Power users share
links at dedicated social bookmarking sites, like Delicious,
Diigo, Kippt, or Pinboard.
These sites support user-assigned #tags, which makes finding links easier.

But many more people share links to social networking sites
than to bookmarking sites. Facebook claims more than 1.1 billion
monthly users as of March 2013
, and reports estimate that both Google+ and Twitter have more
than 500 million users
. In contrast, Delicious, one of the oldest
dedicated bookmarking sites, reported fewer than 6 million users in 2008. Bookmarking
sites work well for saving links, but the sheer number of users makes social
sites a better way to share links with more people.

Yet dedicated bookmarking sites do more than just save and
share links. Some offer ways to create customized lists of bookmarks
(Delicious, Diigo, and Kippt), which is useful for “here are the sites you
need to know about” resource lists. Other services can auto-save links
shared elsewhere (Delicious auto-saves links from Facebook and Twitter, while
Pinboard auto-saves links from Delicious and Twitter, along with “read it
later” services Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability).
The paid versions of Diigo, Kippt and Pinboard save not only the link, but also
the content of bookmarked pages. And with Diigo, you can save text comments
along with a link.

Google+ provides a “middle way” solution: it’s a
dynamic social networking platform that can also handle basic bookmarking
tasks. If you don’t need the features of a dedicated bookmarking site, I
suggest you save and share your links with Google+. Here’s how.

Before you begin

You’ll need a Google+ account, of course, for this to work.

You also should install a plug-in to share links to Google+.
As of June 12, 2013, Google’s own Google+ Chrome browser extension lets you
both +1s and share a site
. The +1 implies that you recommend a site.
If you will be bookmarking pages you might not want to publicly recommend, you
should not use Google’s plug-in. As an alternative, I suggest the AddThis
browser extension
, which can be configured to share links without
also endorsing the site with a +1. Install either one of these plugins for your

Share links to a Google+ Community

The best way to use Google+ for bookmarking is to share your
bookmarks to a Google+ Community. (Hat tip to +Kathy
and +Al Remetch via +Ronnie Bincer for this idea.)

1. Create a Google+ Community

The simplest way to do this is to create a new Google+
Community. You’ll need to make a few decisions in the process. First, you need
to decide whether your Community should be public or private. Then, for public
communities, you also choose whether or not people need permission to join. For
a private community, you also choose whether or not people can find the
community with a search.

Google provides a nice table that displays the
implications of these choices
, along with examples of types of
groups. For example, I set my Community bookmarks to be publicly visible, so others
can see them, but not contribute. A project team might choose to have all
members of the team able to save and share bookmarks to the Community.

Use a Google+ Community for social or private bookmarking

Once you’ve made your decision, create your new Google+
Community with the step-by-step instructions from my earlier post, “Quick Tip: Set up a Google+ Community“.
(If you have an existing Google+ Community, you might add “Bookmarks”
as a new category. To view your bookmarks with this setup, click on the
category – bookmarks – to display only items shared to the category.)

2. Share bookmarks to your Community

When you find a link you want to keep, share the page with
your plugin of choice to your Google+ community. With all items you share you
can add text comments or any #tags you want to use. Both text and #tags are
searchable, which makes it easier to find links later.

If your links fall into distinct topics, you might share
links to a specific Category, such as ProjectA or ProjectB. To edit your
community categories, select the sprocket icon in the community’s photo to
access category (and other management) options.

Share a page to your bookmark Community 

3. Search your bookmark Community

Finding links shared to a Community works from a desktop or
laptop web browser. Go to the community, then type a keyword into the community
search box. As of July 2013, Community search is surprisingly limited: a search
for “analytic” won’t find an article that contains the word “analytics”.
Also, community specific search is not available in the Google+ iOS or Android
apps: a workaround is to access the community from a mobile browser.

Search your bookmark Community for keywords or #tags

4. Share links to an empty circle

An alternative to sharing links to a Google+ Community is to
share links to a Google+ Circle. Create an empty Circle, and then share pages
to this Circle. You can view the stream of pages shared to this empty Circle.

One note of caution: if you want the ability to search your
bookmarks by keyword, a Google+ Community might be a better choice than a
Circle. As of July 2013, there’s no way to restrict a keyword search to items
shared with a specific circle.

  1. While logged in to Google
    Plus, go to “Home”, then select “People”.
  2. Select “Your Circles”.
  3. Click the circle with a +
    in it to create a new circle.
  4. Name your circle (I
    suggest “bookmarks”). Then click “Create empty circle”.
  5. Share a page with the Circle.

Create an empty Circle for simple link saving

As with sharing to a Community, when you find a link you
want to keep, share the page with your plugin of choice to your Circle. With
all items you share you can add text comments or #tags – just remember you can’t
restrict a search to a specific circle.

a page to an empty Circle, with comments or #tags

view pages shared with this Circle, select the circle from your Google+ home

Select the empty Circle from your Google+ home page to view items shared to
that Circle

Bottom line

Sharing items to a Google+ Community requires a bit of
thought during setup. Sharing to an empty Circle works, but is much more
limited. And, as of July 2013, the dedicated bookmarking sites offer features
that Google+ simply does not. Here’s hoping that some of those features (full
content saving with keyword search?!) make their way into Google+. Until then,
bookmark this page with Google+ and share it the next time a colleague emails a
link to you.