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Community managers tend to have issues with tabs, in particular, an over-abundance of them. While applying a recent batch of system updates, I closed about 150 tabs between two browser windows. The reasons for having so many open are broadly incidental, just running down suspected voting irregularities can lead to opening ten tabs, sometimes more.

We also work in a highly interrupt-driven environment, a particular trick to not forgetting to follow up on something is to leave a tab open, and check tabs individually as you close them - the logic being that you'll remember why you had something open, and finish whatever it was you meant to do. That works well in theory, but ...

I'm looking for something I can add on to Chrome that lets me annotate a tab, somewhere easy to find, with notes on why I'm leaving a particular tab open. These would be terse notes, intended only to jog my memory - something like:

Find out if this shipped for sure, order it again if it didn't.

Or perhaps

Definitely some crazy cross voting on a few sites going on here, run it down and clean it up everywhere prior to messaging

Anything that lets me quickly recall why something was left open would work.

At the minimum, I need the following features:

  • Easy one-click access to an icon in the tool area (similar to screenshot tools, etc). Clicking gives me a short text box, where I can save an annotation
  • Easy button to see an annotation for a tab while viewing it
  • Easy dismiss button to clear an annotation without having to close the tab itself

Nice to have:

  • Tabs with annotations are visually distinct from tabs that don't have annotations, preferably when they're all scrunched together due to too many #@^& tabs being open
  • If a tab with an annotation is closed without dismissing the annotation first, (optionally) bring the annotation back if I visit the same URL again (Chrome loves to crash when you have too many open tabs)
  • Hovering over a tab with an annotation shows the first 80 - 100 characters of the annotation 'tool tip' style

Really spiffy if:

  • Syncs with Chrome like most other things, so I can inherit annotations that haven't been dismissed across browsers

I'm not particular on implementation details, or the state of the extension (alpha / beta is fine with me). I don't care if it doesn't sync and only works off of local storage / etc - anything beats what I currently have which is basically nothing. Additionally, I'm not concerned about compatibility with the various mobile versions of Chrome. Windows 7 + gets the job done for me, compatibility with Linux would be swell, but not needed.

Is there an extension that does this, and can help me make simply leaving tabs open a more productive tool in my workflow?

  • 1
    Here are some extensions that sounds related: Page Notes, Note Anywhere. – Dustin Kingen Mar 2 '14 at 8:11
  • @TimPost This may interest you megaleecher.net/Browser_As_Notepad_Trick#axzz2uoBRGwbd – Simon Mar 3 '14 at 11:10
  • @TimPost, You can try starting Chrome with --user-data-dir="your_dir_1", it's pretty scalable. I'm working with about 15k tabs, divided into ~70 sessions of ~15 windows per session with ~15 tabs per window. For quick data you can try typing data:text/html, text i want to remember directly in the URL. It's pretty much RAM-low, though raw notepads are still lower (more dangerous if your com hangs though). – Pacerier Apr 1 '15 at 1:42
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    @How much RAM does that take up/ require on your machine? – Alex S Dec 27 '15 at 8:52
  • @TimPost You might wanna take a look at Tabs Outliner. It might be overkill, but maybe it's just what you need for your hundreds of tabs (I certainly do, despite huge efforts not to). – a13ph Mar 3 '16 at 2:13
163
+100

Update: I published this extension here.

So I just created a quick extension that does this: AnnoTabe

enter image description here

It's a popup that one can add an annotation to. The update button updates the annotation (and closes the popup).

By default, the "persist" checkbox is clicked, so the annotation is associated with tab URL, and is not cleared unless explicitly dismissed. This will sync across devices too. If the persist checkbox is not clicked, the annotation is associated with internal tab id and is cleared when the tab is closed (or the annotation is dismissed).

The icon will turn yellow on pages which have annotations, for easy identification.

There is also a list of all annotations, accessible from the "show all annotations" button in the popup. This lets you dismiss annotations from one place, and also acts like a tab-switcher with the "Go to tab" button.

enter image description here

Hattip to @TildalWave for making the icon! :)

Enjoy!

  • 6
    Love the TODO :) – Dan Dascalescu Mar 3 '14 at 4:13
  • 20
    This is positively awesome and I'm letting our team(s) know this exists now. It isn't just the community team in tab hell. Thank you Manish! – Tim Post Mar 3 '14 at 4:33
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    Beautiful, this is how creating software for a answer should be done. – Lyndon White Mar 3 '14 at 4:43
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    Definitely get this up in the store, I can't imagine many that wouldn't find this useful. – Tim Post Mar 3 '14 at 13:31
  • 4
    @TimPost Now on the store: chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/annotabe/… :) – Manishearth Apr 7 '14 at 12:18
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Sounds like Note Anywhere will do the trick for you. Although it doesn't distinguish the difference between tabs that have notes and ones that don't, it is still pretty useful. I use it on occasion when I am looking through API documentations and I forget what I am looking for.

Features

  • Click on one box to open up a new note
  • Ability to move that box around
  • Typed notes are saved in real time and can be brought back if you accidentally close the tab. So this also means that if chrome crashes the note stays there
  • Close out a note by clicking the top left corner of the note
  • Notes don't move with the page which means you can place multiple on a single page and place them in various places

Some downsides

  • No ability to see if a tab has notes or not, just how many notes there are on a opened tab (there is a semi workaround, see below)
  • No ability to resize the note (Yet. Apparently the developer plans to include it in an upcoming update)

Screenshots

Screenshot1

Here is a screenshot of a note further down the page. You will notice that the first note doesn't come with the scrolling and stays where it should be

Screenshot2

To view all the notes you have on any page, right click on the extension icon, and then select notes summary. This is a work around to seeing which tabs have notes.

Options

The developer also has plans to include syncing between computer and exporting notes, in an upcoming update. Although it hasn't been updated since last June.

  • 1
    150 tabs is not that much. Some people routinely have 300, which regularly crashes Chrome. – Dan Dascalescu Mar 3 '14 at 4:12
  • 3
    This is handy to have even beyond my use case. 300+ tabs? Woah, if I got that bad I'd probably consider going back on Ritalin instead of looking for an extension :) – Tim Post Mar 3 '14 at 4:39
  • 3
    When my tabs start overflowing (around 50 or so), I use one-tab.com. – iKlsR Mar 5 '14 at 21:10
  • You should totally try The Great Suspender for suspending tabs. Definitely helps! – pratnala Mar 19 '14 at 15:14
  • @DanDascalescu, 300 is really pushing it. Anywhere around 15*15 and you'll have to switch a session using user-data-dir. Chrome's "restore from crashes" isn't exactly stable and it totally sucks to salvage through the data trying to find your lost tabs. – Pacerier Apr 1 '15 at 1:44
4

Here is a small extension that I wrote a while back for myself that may help you or others like you:

Inter-tab history

enter image description here

It's not quite what you are asking for: it doesn't allow for manual writing of notes.

But it may still accomplish what you need: quickly remember at a glance how you got to a certain website. And all that automatically, without having to think of a note to write. It has certainly helped me out many times when I have 100-150 tabs open.

  • Isn't this what you when when you click and hold history back button? Am I missing something? – LocustHorde Oct 13 '17 at 9:44
  • 1
    @LocustHorde It's different. The click and hold will only show you the history for the current tab since when it was created. The extension will show you this history, plus as an extra, further back: the history of the other tab that you opened the current tab from (e.g. via middle-mouse-click, or ctrl+click). This way you can get an idea how you got to where you are. This way you can get history even if chrome would tell you nothing. Notice how the back button is actually greyed out in the screenshot, and yet the extension still can tell the history. Does that make sense? – Wizek Oct 13 '17 at 10:16

protected by Community Jul 3 '15 at 14:11

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