Google Puts Firefox in Sync

Google on Wednesday released a Firefox extension to keep browser settings in sync across multiple computers.

Google Browser Sync is a free plug-in for the popular open source browser that continuously synchronizes bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, tabs and saved passwords across different PCs.

“What could be worse than forgetting to bookmark the obscure page you found that maps out the perfect walking tour of Venice? Having bookmarked it on the computer sitting on your desk back at home, 6,000 miles away, instead of on the laptop you brought along?” asked Google product manager Brian Rokowski.

Alleviating Browser Frustration

Rokowski also pointed out the frustration of using a new computer and not remembering your passwords because your browser on your old computer automatically filled them in for you. Those types of frustrations are what inspired Google to build the new Firefox extension, he said.

Besides synchronizing bookmarks, it also remembers which tabs and windows users had open when they last closed any of their browsers and gives them a chance to reopen them. The plug-in is designed to handle sync conflicts on any computer.

“Google wants as much presence as possible and the presence that matters to them most is on the Web browser. This gives Google another way to stay in front of the customers using the browsers,” JupiterResearch analyst Joe Wilcox told LinuxInsider.

Not a New Concept

Portable favorites is not a new concept, however. Apple has a similar synchronization feature with its .Mac service. The utility allows users to sync their files, including Safari settings, between multiple Macintosh computers.

Microsoft also features portable favorites via its Live service. This allows users to transfer their favorite Web site links from IE and access them from a portable favorites folder.

Firefox and its users stand to benefit from the new plug-in.

“This is especially good for Mozilla because Firefox is available for so many different platforms. It’s not inconceivable for somebody to be working on Linux or Windows at work and a Mac at home or maybe Windows at work and a Linux at home,” Wilcox noted.

Google also announced it has been improving version 2 of the Google Toolbar for Firefox. “We’ve fixed a bunch of bugs and made it more stable, so we’re stripping off the ‘beta’ tag,” he shared, noting plans to update users on this new version sometime within the next two weeks.

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