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Google's Firefox Browser Sync
December 19, 2006 10:10 AM   Subscribe

I use several different computers in the same day; my work machine, my laptop, my home machine. I've bitched for years that I shouldn't have to struggle to keep my bookmarks synced between machines. Google to the rescue with the best Christmas present ever.
posted by talldean (74 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
ooooo
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:16 AM on December 19, 2006


Err, you realize this came out six months ago, right?
posted by jourman2 at 10:16 AM on December 19, 2006


This will wendell.
posted by Duncan at 10:17 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Err, you realise that a solution to your problem has been available for most of two years now, right?

(Wendell! Good to see you, man!)
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:18 AM on December 19, 2006


Pepsi Bloogle?
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 10:18 AM on December 19, 2006


insert snark here
posted by Mick at 10:19 AM on December 19, 2006


*clap*
posted by lemonfridge at 10:27 AM on December 19, 2006


AWESOME!
posted by chunking express at 10:29 AM on December 19, 2006


*gives lemonfridge shot of penecillin in the ass*
posted by docpops at 10:29 AM on December 19, 2006


Wow, you mean I get to turn over my browsing history, cookies, and bookmarks to Google? In exchange for nothing? Wonderful!

Do you think maybe if I paid them $20 a month, they'd keep my medical and financial records too?
posted by Pastabagel at 10:29 AM on December 19, 2006 [3 favorites]


I am still waiting on something that allows me to sync plugins across different computers. Setting up plugins is the biggest pain in my browsing.

Can't live without my all in one gesture.
posted by sourbrew at 10:32 AM on December 19, 2006


I've been using foxmarks for a while. Works great, not I just need one for Thunderbird (to sync feeds/filters)
posted by zeoslap at 10:33 AM on December 19, 2006


Wow, you mean I get to turn over my browsing history, cookies, and bookmarks to Google? In exchange for nothing? Wonderful!

That was my concern too. Then I decided to actually click on the link:


By encrypting your information, it will be transmitted to and stored on Google's servers in a format that is nearly impossible to interpret without the PIN. That means that without the PIN, no one, not even Google, will be able to read your data.

posted by vacapinta at 10:35 AM on December 19, 2006


If only there was a way to put my bookmarks online and let other people see them. If only...
posted by GuyZero at 10:35 AM on December 19, 2006


GuyZero: that's a delicious idea.
posted by papercake at 10:38 AM on December 19, 2006


I am still waiting on something that allows me to sync plugins across different computers. Setting up plugins is the biggest pain in my browsing.

You will want to check out FEBE, the Firefox Extension Backup Extension.
posted by solipse at 10:40 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Foxmarks is another bookmark syncer, been out for about a year. It turns out that sharing my work bookmarks (lots of boring papers on the LAN) and my home bookmarks (lots of salacious NSFW items) is not a good idea.

Still waiting for the perfect solution.
posted by chairface at 10:40 AM on December 19, 2006


best Christmas 2005 gift evar
posted by matteo at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2006


Aiden Kehoe! WhoHow the hell are you?

Just remember that "This will not wendell" works on all your computers across multiple platforms and multiple browsers. Top THAT Google.
posted by wendell at 10:44 AM on December 19, 2006


I use x...
I've bitched for years about x...

/golf clap
posted by prostyle at 10:54 AM on December 19, 2006


"The best Christmas present ever"? Really? Surely you're mistaken:
Firefox can't find the server at pony.google.com.
* Check the address for typing errors [...]

posted by boo_radley at 10:54 AM on December 19, 2006


Something like this which uses your own server instead of google's would be nice. Has anyone used the Bookmark Synchronizer extension? It appears to be intended for just that. It also appears not to have been updated since FF 1.0, but perhaps it doesn't need to be.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:58 AM on December 19, 2006


Your favorite bookmark syncing solutions sucks.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 10:59 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Google's browser sync is annoying. You can only be using one computer at a time or it disconnects you. Makes sense for browser states, which I don't want sync'd anyway, but is pointless for just syncing bookmarks.

I use .Mac sync now for my bookmarks in Safari. And Foxmarks is better for Firefox.
posted by yesno at 11:02 AM on December 19, 2006


I use the Bookmark Synchronizer George mentioned, never had a problem with it. At work I forward a port over ssh and sync to my webdav server at home. There have been updates to make it compatible with the various FF release but no real functional changes.
posted by beowulf573 at 11:04 AM on December 19, 2006


Del.icio.us ain't a solution to the same problem, for those who mentioned it. Not at all, unless Delicious imports into my link toolbar and allows directories and subdirectories. Are you daft?

Foxmarks.com is a solution to a subset of the problem.

Google's Browser sync seems to work just fine with multiple browsers open, yesno.

The Bookmark Synchronizer extention *sucked* when I tried it. Actually, I think "Sucked shit through a straw", because it never got updated, and none of the small problems improved.

And yeah, I do turn everything over to Google. For a gain in functionality, you jackass. Which I consider worthwhile enough.

And since I hadn't heard of this until this week, it *is* indeed a Christmas present, much like if I just bought myself a sweet XBox 360. :-)
posted by talldean at 11:09 AM on December 19, 2006


What talldean said.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2006


(Without the "jackass" part of course: why, that's just plain rude!)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2006


I use x...
I've bitched for years about x...


I use X.
I've bitched for years about X.
posted by eriko at 11:22 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Delicious won't sync old bookmarks from firefox, like talldean said, so it is useless, unless you want to manually add them one by one. Bookmark sync doesn't seem to work with newer versions of Firefox, and choked on large files anyway. Even if this is six months old, it is new to me and new to the blue. Nice post, thanks.
posted by caddis at 11:23 AM on December 19, 2006


How to use del.icio.us to organise your links in a hierarchical fashion, in steps:

1. This is functionally equivalent to a directory.

2. This is functionally equivalent to a a subdirectory.

Hope that helped.

If your link toolbar as part of the browser chrome is functionally important to you, then yes, that is possible. This has the advantage over syncing your Firefox config across machine that you can still access your bookmarks with Internet Explorer from a net café.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 11:25 AM on December 19, 2006


dean is tall
posted by poppo at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2006


Caddis, do you mean del.icio.us doesn’t do this?
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2006


Aidan, that's functionally equivalent, but much like saying pencil and paper is equivalent to a graphing calculator.

Del.icio.us is good for some things. Approximating a 'Bookmarks' directory structure isn't one of those things.

Imagine if I want to rename a directory, or move all of the things in one directory to another. Now what if I want those directories to drop down in the browser interface from the 'Links' toolbar in Firefox?


For the way I use links:
-The Browser Links are great for permanent items; things I use everyday, and anticipate going back to again and again.
-The Del.icio.us links are great for semi-permanent items; links to news articles and interesting pages that I may want to go back to, but might not ever use again, and might only be on that server temporarily.

Combining the two schemes works for me, as brute forcing temporary links into the browser or brute forcing permanent links into a almost-good directory structure in del.icio.us... both painful.
posted by talldean at 11:34 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Am I the only who "uses" certain sites at home that I don't want to show up in my work browser?
posted by smackfu at 11:35 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Can I choose which bookmarks to sync?

Currently, you can only synchronize all of your bookmarks, but we are exploring ways to allow you to choose specific bookmarks.
In other words, you can't mark your goatpr0n link folder not to be synchronized to prevent your co-workers from learning what a disgusting little perv you are. So much for that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:35 AM on December 19, 2006


FavoriteSync uses an XML file of your favorites + your ftp server to sync between browsers, including between MSIE & Firefox. So it's both interoperable and private. And it's free, although they'd love a donation.

I used it like 5 years ago, so I'm better than all of you. (Kneel before Zod, etc., etc.)
posted by LordSludge at 11:41 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Err, you realise that a solution to your problem has been available for most of two years now, right?

Yeah, but that won't let google look at your bookmarks and learn more about your browsing habits in order to feed you better ads!
posted by delmoi at 11:43 AM on December 19, 2006


(er, I spoke to soon, I suppose there is nothing stopping them from spidering your del.icio.us public bookmarks. Can you have private bookmarks there?)
posted by delmoi at 11:44 AM on December 19, 2006


I tried FavoriteSync a few years back. It refused to sync with my particular choice of FTP servers. (probably vsftp, but I don't remember now.)

And no, it syncs everything, including porn. They subtly word a warning about that. I don't have porn links, so it works. As a note, it also syncs history, so if you're browsing porn (no links), it's still going to drag that to your work browser.
posted by talldean at 11:46 AM on December 19, 2006


Thanks LordSludge. I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to find the DIY version of Foxmarks, and here it is.

I really really need to set up my server now.
posted by niles at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2006


Delmoi, yes, you can. (Also relevant to Smackfu.)
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 11:53 AM on December 19, 2006


Am I the only who "uses" certain sites at home that I don't want to show up in my work browser?

You should be ashamed of yourself, young man.

AskTangent: Do any of these services work cross-browser? I use Safari, Firefox, even Explorer sometimes, and I hate when the bookmark I want is in "the other one".

Every sync-service I find is either Firefox-only, Safari-only etc, though their formats can't be THAT different.

(I would like actual bookmarks in my browser, not a web page.)
posted by rokusan at 11:56 AM on December 19, 2006


I just want to sync up my SomethingAwful Last Read extension :(
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 11:58 AM on December 19, 2006


It is annoying if you have two browsers set to sync and open at the same time--they compete for who gets control over the active profile. It's also really friggin slow or at least it was back in July when I tried it last. Perhaps they've worked on that....
posted by Fezboy! at 11:59 AM on December 19, 2006


how are they monetizing this product?
posted by gman at 11:59 AM on December 19, 2006


Bookmarks, schmookmarks. How do I sync my word documents between different hard drives?
posted by LarryC at 12:05 PM on December 19, 2006


And no, it syncs everything, including porn.

Huh? You can tell FavoriteSync to ignore particular folders on the Ignore Tab.

And who browses for pr0n anymore? I thought that's why God made BitTorrent. (In the beginning, there was the BBS...)

As a note, it also syncs history, so if you're browsing porn (no links), it's still going to drag that to your work browser.

Hrm, possible, although I don't remember it syncing history. Been a while though.
posted by LordSludge at 12:06 PM on December 19, 2006


.Mac introduced bookmark synching ages ago.
posted by drstein at 12:19 PM on December 19, 2006


This will drape web by redo.
posted by Kwine at 12:27 PM on December 19, 2006


Woot to the google! I'm glad them little upstarts has made something of theyselfs.
posted by Mister_A at 12:33 PM on December 19, 2006


Del.icio.us ain't a solution to the same problem

Absolutely correct. del.icio.us is a superior solution to the actual problem.
posted by yerfatma at 1:04 PM on December 19, 2006


Google's sync tool ate some of my bookmarks when I tried it last month. It seems to be confused by dividers; it turned a whole folder of bookmarks into a divider, while refusing to delete some dividers that I had manually removed.

Foxmarks is working well for me now.
posted by shortfuse at 1:05 PM on December 19, 2006


The angry elves are out in force today.
posted by craniac at 1:07 PM on December 19, 2006


.Mac introduced bookmark synching ages ago.

wow cool tell us more
posted by signal at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2006


Foxmarks is fantastic. It does exactly what I want. It's probably my favourite Firefox extension.

I don't like delicious because I don't need or want my stuff hosted remotely so I'll need to retrieve my own bookmarks from a website. And it looks like ass. So I don't really get what the fuss is all about. I guess it depends on how you feel about "social networking".
posted by loiseau at 1:20 PM on December 19, 2006


"Has anyone used the Bookmark Synchronizer extension?"

I used to... but switched to GBS when it stopped being updated.

"Google's browser sync is annoying. You can only be using one computer at a time or it disconnects you."

Hasn't done that for a few versions acherlee.
posted by Auz at 1:24 PM on December 19, 2006


This is actually one of the most important bits of software you can get if you wan t to sync two or more computers in a meaningful way.

If you try to sync, say a portable Firefox installation using folder share or SyncToy you will run into problems. This extension means that you can keep your online infrastructure seamlessly intact across many installations. (I have tried it on Ubuntu and PC no problem)

It is really important that you password protect your firefox if you start using this because you are leaving all of your passwords, history etc unguarded without it using this extension.

Mat
posted by Salted at 1:57 PM on December 19, 2006


Todd!? Is that you?

Kwine
posted by Kwine at 2:03 PM on December 19, 2006


This is wonderful until the day it freaks out and deletes your bookmarks on one machine and then you watch as, magically, every other machine you turn on the bookmarks disappear forever while you frantically try and click the disconnect button up the top.

(Firefox automatically keeps a five-day backup of your bookmarks in your profile folder, which I was not aware of before trying to work out how to recover from browsersynciness)
posted by Mil at 2:13 PM on December 19, 2006


Foxmarks is my favourite firefox extension. Closely followed by Adblock plus + filter sets.
posted by algreer at 2:24 PM on December 19, 2006


I use the relative new delicious plugin into Firefox. Absolutely amazing.
posted by bhouston at 2:40 PM on December 19, 2006


Google already looks through all my email to give me those snazzy ad sense blurbs..

Hey why not give them all my bookmarks, cookies, and passwords... even if they need that so called PIN to unlock my info, I think a Google admin could overwrite that - don't you?
posted by savagecorp at 2:53 PM on December 19, 2006


It's cool, but I keep my bookmarks synced via Netvibes (which also syncs RSS feeds and a bunch of other "goodies" as well).

I also use del.icio.us a LOT, and have it set up to send my more important tags to a dedicated Netvibes tab via RSS.

Just thought I'd share...
posted by numlok at 2:59 PM on December 19, 2006


"wow cool tell us more"

http://www.mac.com

Just saying that browser bookmark synching isn't really that new, but since this is from the almighty Google, it's getting more press.

But if you're a Windows user, and a Firefox user, and you don't mind Google, this is cool.
posted by drstein at 4:02 PM on December 19, 2006


No, it's not really new - even before .mac, Netscape had shared profiles. They left that out of Mozilla/FF, and people have been asking why ever since.

Bookmarks Synchroniser worked OK until something went wrong (then it was a right royal to fix and get going again). So far, Foxmarks seems to be working well for me syncing to a local WebDAV server. I'm just syncing bookmarks, though; syncing the whole profile between 2 different Windows versions + OS X seems like a recipe for disaster.
posted by Pinback at 4:37 PM on December 19, 2006


bhouston writes 'I use the relative new delicious plugin into Firefox. Absolutely amazing.'

If by 'absolutely amazing' you mean 'a buggy piece of shit that will completely fuck up Firefox to the point that you have to reinstall it, and will completely trash your existing bookmarks even after you uninstall the add-on, leaving you with hours of work to get things back the way they were', then, yes, it's abso-fucking-lutely amazing.
posted by jack_mo at 4:49 PM on December 19, 2006


Actually, this is the best Christmas present ever.
posted by banished at 5:04 PM on December 19, 2006


.mac would be great if I used more than one mac. And if it was free.
posted by smackfu at 5:56 PM on December 19, 2006


I quit using bookmarks and just blog everything of interest using a bookmarklet or slap it into delicious.
posted by mecran01 at 8:43 PM on December 19, 2006


LarryC: "Bookmarks, schmookmarks. How do I sync my word documents between different hard drives?"

If you're serious, and not just joking, the MS SyncToy is great for this. I use it to keep work files on my laptop and home system synced.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:46 PM on December 19, 2006


Well, I was going to recommend del.icio.us, but I see that's pretty much been covered.

Personally, though, I only use del.icio.us for things that I anticipate needing to access from another computer, particularly one that's not mine. The vast majority of my teeming forest of bookmarks does not fit this metric, so everything else gets periodically exported (Firefox's Bookmarks Manager makes this pretty easy) to my flash drive, as well as synced to my Firefox Portable.

Works for me, though I understand the desire for a more automated synchronization.
posted by Spike at 1:17 AM on December 20, 2006


Imagine if I want to rename a directory, or move all of the things in one directory to another.

Settings/Rename Tags. Not only can you rename the "directory," you can split it into multiple directories with the same content. As for shifting links around -- I could have sworn there was a merge function, but it is escaping me at the moment. At any rate, that sort of operation takes place quite seldom if at all. I cannot even think of the last time I've moved all links from one directory to another. Maybe you do that constantly -- for me it means nothing.

I basically do what you do, with a different ratio I think. I have a set of "core" bookmarks, perhaps two dozen, that live in my bookmark bar. Everything else is in del.icio.us though. I don't find bookmark directories to be any more efficient than tags, with the exception of those quick drop-downs.
posted by AmberV at 3:43 AM on December 20, 2006


Thanks, Caution Live Frogs, I was serious and I will give it a whirl.
posted by LarryC at 7:29 PM on December 20, 2006


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