Google browser sync is dead. Now what?

As a guy with far too many computers, well, at least four that I use on a regular basis, keeping things in sync is kind of hopeless. Instead, some computer gets assigned a certain task and all the related files. I use my Macbook Pro for email, for example, and digital photography lives mainly on my iMac, oh he with the big screen.

But some tasks can’t be penned in so easily, particularly browsing the Internet. I’m just as likely to read web sites or my Bloglines feeds on any computer in he house. So it was a great day around these parts when Google introduced their browser sync extension for Firefox, which “continuously synchronizes your browser settings – including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords – across your computers.” The add-on also kept track of which sites you had open when you last closed a browser and offered to open them when you next opened a browser.

Unfortunately, the browser sync program has become the latest victim of Google’s shifting priorities. There won’t be a version for the new Firefox 3.0 browser and the existing extension for the prior version of Firefox wil bite the dust soon (news I first read on Lifehacker). So it’s time to move on and find an alternative.

Logo of Foxmarks Firefox extensionMany people are talking about an extension called Foxmarks, so I’m giving it a go. One limitation versus the old Google sync is that Foxmarks only keeps track of bookmarks, not cookies, history or saved passwords. You sign up on the Foxmarks site, which serves as the main repository for all your bookmarks and gives you access to them from any computer, which is an added little bonus. The first sync was incredibly fast. But Foxmarks doesn’t work continuously. It seems to just sync when you quite or request a manual sync. So either remember to sync manually after you’ve added a few new bookmarks or don’t let Firefox crash. I’ll report back after using it for a bit.

logo of mozilla weave projectEven with Foxmarks, I’m still lacking a more comprehensive browser sync solution. Some people are touting Weave, an entire browser syncing platform that Mozilla introduced back in December. But it’s a 0.1 release, not something I’m going to trust with all my important data.

UPDATE: Techmeme is collecting various responses, including:

- The semi-official word from Google, via the Google Operating System blog.

- Cybernotes points to a round up it did last September of various sync options.