Innovation That Matters

Chrome add-on puts browsing data to good use

Work & Lifestyle

cottonTracks is a new Google Chrome add-on that intelligently sorts users' internet history into themed groups for later retrieval.

While it may be controversial for government agencies to track citizens’ internet use, keeping a personal web history can actually be useful for recalling past articles and links. cottonTracks is a new Google Chrome add-on that intelligently sorts users’ browsing history into themed groups for later retrieval.

Rather than the sober chronological list of addresses that forms Chrome’s standard internet history view, cottonTracks uses algorithms to detect instances where the content of each page matches another and groups them into themed folders. For example, users who have been researching a particular subject on lots of different websites, but then get sidetracked with Facebook or a magazine site before returning to their research, will handily see any related to the topic collected into one group, without the irrelevant pages. Any pieces of text that are highlighted are also remembered by cottonTracks, enabling users to quickly pull out the relevant bits from each page. The add-on also offers insights into browsing activity to help users see how most of their time on the web is spent. For those concerned about privacy, cottonTracks doesn’t require a log-in and none of the data used is sent to a server — it remains on the user’s computer. It also filters explicit content from being archived. The video below explains more about the project:


Similarly to MindMeld — the iPad app that analyzes spoken conversations to bring up relevant content from the web — cottonTracks helps computer users to automatically organize their history, without creating hundreds of bookmarks or spending time scrolling through Last Visited lists. Could technology such as this be used to give web users recommendations on where to go next?

Spotted by Murtaza Patel, written by Springwise



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