Managing your Browser with BrainTool

Why you need BrainTool

You already know why!

You’ve long since given up on your disorganized bookmarks. Maybe you’ve tried pinned tabs or tab groups or vertical tabs. They can help, a little bit.

BrainTool gives you a better way to work in your browser.

What BrainTool is

BrainTool is a Topic Manager. A Topic is a category, or grouping of any kind, that you can assign to a tab - anything from “Ideas for living room curtains” to “BrainTool Admin Pages”. Topics can branch into subtopics and sub-subtopics of any depth (e.g. Projects→BrainTool→Admin Pages→etc).

BrainTool is also an extension that sits inside your browser and helps you keep track of all your topics and to work more efficiently.

The BrainTool Popup makes it easy to assign a topic to a web page, with a note capturing why its important.

The SidePanel holds the topic hierarchy for you to edit and curate. It lets you open and close topics en masse and navigate the pages you've associated with a topic.
BrainTool popup

All the tabs visiting a topic are grouped within a visible tab group or a separate window to keep them organized and together.

How you should use BrainTool

Import and organize your existing bookmarks. Or just start assigning topics to your open tabs via the Popup. (Then you can finally close them out!)

Work proactively, by creating a topic before you start a new piece of research. Or reactively, by considering what to do with each tab as you leave it: assign a topic and close, update its note, close and forget, or keep it open because you are actively working with it.

Keep short (or long) notes on topics and their associated pages to build out your personal information space. Assign a TODO state to any topic or page to track a task.

BrainTool comes with a set of example topics and a proposed organizational structure. You can customize that one or build your own from scratch.

For improved focus get in the habit of working within a single topic, or small number of related topics, and being purposeful about context switching.

What you should know

Your browsing data and associated topics and notes are your personal and private information. BrainTool is structured such that no one else has any access to your data. The tool running inside your browser uses local browser storage or a synced file that is solely under your control.

To further support efficient browser operation and in homage to its roots, BrainTool supports complete keyboard control - use ‘h’ from the side panel for the full list. (Below, BT navigating the topic hierarchy and controlling vertical tabs in Edge.)

BrainTool popup

WRT its roots, BrainTool originally came out of my attempt to unify my text notes and my bookmarks. I keep my text notes in Org-mode syntax so that’s how BrainTool stores your underlying information. You can sync to an Org file, keep your braintool data in there, and then use other tools to edit it also.

For a deeper dive into various aspects see the blog. The privacy policy, pricing and vision pages might also be of interest.

25 Aug 2021 - Written by Tony

Share on: