I have quite a few bookmarks saved in Google Chrome. It’s not an unwieldy number, maybe fifty or sixty bookmarks, spread out over three folders which categorize most of them, then a few unsorted ones I used most often and want easily available. But even with those, there are a lot of places I go all the time that I don’t have bookmarked, because I don’t want to take up the space in my bookmarks manager. For instance, I have my Gmail inbox bookmarked, but not the link for creating a new email. I have Google Calendar bookmarked, but not the link for creating a new event. I have ESPN.com bookmarked, but not the page for the Big 10 football blog. Why not? Again, it’s all because of space. If I had the room, or the willingness to scroll through a huge number of bookmarks, I would. But now, thanks to a great Google Chrome extension called My Shortcuts, I don’t need to.
My Shortcuts feels like it was made just for me, which I think is a sign of a well-made extension. Or at least that’s what I tell myself, similar to how I also believe that people who agree with me are pretty smart! Anyway, My Shortcuts is an extension that makes all kinds of pages and actions easily available. For instance, by default it comes with a list of more than 15 different links. Included are the following:
Gmail, as well as creating a new Gmail message
Create new Google Calendar event
Create new Document
Create new Spreadsheet
Create new Form
Create new Drawing
Create new Presentation
Create new from Template
Now, this is obviously a very Google-centric tool, and for me that’s fine, but if you use something else, like Hotmail or Yahoo, then it’s not really for you.
Except… it can be.
In addition to the default shortcuts, My Shortcuts can easily be customized. If you don’t use Google Buzz or Google Wave, as I don’t, then just go to the configuration page and check the box to hide those entries in the menu. If you use Google Docs, but never create forms or drawings, you can remove those options, leaving only the document, spreadsheet and presentation options.
Similarly, you can add your own, non-Google shortcuts. All you need to do is give it a name and URL, and you’re in business. You can also use My Shortcuts with a Google Apps For Your Domain account. Simply enter in your domain URL, and you’re set. By default, My Shortcuts doesn’t use SSL, but it can (another option on the settings page), and if you want to hide the horizontal dividers in the menu, you can.
In reality, there’s nothing ultra-special about My Shortcuts. It doesn’t do anything you couldn’t already do with your regular bookmark manager. For instance, you can create a new Gmail message by using this URL:
And there are similar addresses for new Google Docs documents as well (http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?new=true, for instance, gets you a new spreadsheet). The advantage of My Shortcuts is that it places all these similar items in a single menu, not spread out throughout your regular bookmarks, or possibly buried in a sub-folder. Because they’re together, I find them more convenient, and while the icon does take up a bit of space, the amount is minimal compared to how useful I find them. Your mileage may vary, of course. If you don’t use Google products and don’t want to take the time to configure it to use your favorite services, it probably doesn’t hold much value. But if you’re like me and many of your everyday computing tasks involve Google products, My Shortcuts could be a very valuable addition to your Google Chrome toolbox.