Internet users are always on the lookout for ways to keep their favorite links organized in a way that they can be easily found when needed. Developers, in turn, are constantly thinking of ways to help users make sense of their browsing history, making it easier to access & search. cottonTracks is a Chrome extension that takes this concept and turns it into something quite different. cottonTracks isn’t your traditional browsing history extension; rather, it is a reference of your browsing history. It analyses your history and each time you visit a page on a website that you frequently browse, it can show you all pages that you’ve previously visited on it. This takes a considerable load off your bookmarks library as well, since you no longer have to save links from frequently visited websites. It also makes finding them as easy as one click.
cottonTracks adds a C button next to the URL bar. The extension is still in beta and as you use it, you will spot a few glitches now and then. It claims to analyze your past browsing history but as per our tests, it worked only for the pages that were browsed after the extension had been installed. When first added to Chrome, it will take a little time (during which time, we suspect it’s trying to analyze your history) to get ready. Unfortunately it gets stuck here, requiring a browser restart.
Once you’ve browsed a few pages on a particular website and would like to see which ones have you’ve visited frequently or recently, just click the C button. The web page is itself blurred over, as the extension is activated, listing the page you last visited, along with all pages from the same site that are open across tabs. A search bar at the top lets you search the stories, and you can go back to the website any time by clicking the ‘Go back to the page’ button.
cottonTracks is a supplement for your browsing history which, despite the progress that browsers have made over the years, is still very hard to tame. The bugs are of course still there and until they are ironed out, you can’t really rely on cottonTracks full-time. While we can understand that it takes time to analyze your browsing history, a more annoying problem with the extension is that when it’s closed, it reloads the web page. This means that in the event that a user was browsing a site like YouTube or Vimeo with a video paused, they will have to buffer it again from the start.
All the bugs aside, the concept of the extension is great, since the user has to do nothing. Hopefully, fixing the bugs will make it more practical over time.