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Firefox Add-On: Google Browser Sync

Running Linux Tech Daily causes me to switch between distributions often. One of the pains caused by this is keeping my Firefox bookmarks synchronized. There are Firefox Add-ons out there to take care of this, but none have worked the way I want them to. My folders get jumbled, or I have to move everything back to my bookmarks toolbar where I generally navigate from. When I read about Google Browser Sync from Google Labs I was intrigued. It seemed a great fit for my needs.

Google Browser Sync not only synchronizes your bookmarks, also syncs your Cookies, Saved Passwords, History, Tabs and Windows. This is a godsend for me. It is an annoyance to punch in my username and passwords each time I am running a fresh install. I visit a lot of sites. This looked to be a very helpful add-on. It works only with Firefox, version 1.5 or later.

Installation was very easy. I went to the page, clicked install, and it installed just like any other add-on. I restarted my browser, associated it with my Google Account and punched in the Security PIN. I refreshed, which sends the information to the Google servers and was done. Your cookies and saved passwords are automatically encrypted. You are given the option of encrypting your bookmarks, history, tabs and windows. I booted out of my Arch Linux system and rebooted into my fresh PCLinuxOS install. I ran through the installation routine again, synced and I was running essentially the same browser. I keep my bookmarks organized into folders on my Bookmarks Toolbar, and this is where I typically run into trouble. Google Bookmark Sync set it up identically. Very nice. Images of the install procedure are below.

My bookmarks are identical in each Firefox on each computer. My username and passwords transfer correctly, so I am able to log right in. It is nice to log off of one system, log onto another and have the option to restore my tabs from my last session. History works very well. It was a hindrance to be on one system and try to remember where I was earlier. Now my history follows me, no matter what system I am on. I can’t escape my past.
Google Browser Sync has worked exactly as promised. I read in the Google-Firefox-Extentions group that a few people have had problems with it. Luckily for me, it has been flawless. The convenience that it offers outweighs any privacy concerns I may have. You may feel differently, so be sure to review the Privacy Policy and Terms Of Service before using. Your information will be stored on Google’s servers. They claim that they cannot unlock your data without your PIN. I don’t know if that means Google can access it or not. I emailed them for clarification, but haven’t received a response yet. I will update when I get it. If I wasn’t comfortable with there being a record of my 4chan usage out there, I can simply use Konqueror or Opera to view it.

Google does not recommend that you use this on a shared computer. To quote the FAQ:

“Why shouldn’t I install Google Browser Sync on computers that other people can access?

Browser Sync keeps all your browsers in sync with each other, so it needs to send potentially sensitive information like your stored passwords, bookmarks, and browser history to the other computers where you’ve installed it. Also, once you install Browser Sync, you don’t need to log in every time you start the browser to access this info. Therefore, someone who uses a computer where you’ve installed browser sync will have access to all the info you’ve chosen to sync across your computers. Any new browser settings they create, such as browsing history, will also show up on your other computers.”

That is clear and makes sense. If you share a computer and don’t want others to access your info, this isn’t for you. If you use multiple computers and don’t mind having this information stored by Google, I recommend Google Browser Sync. It has made my life easier. Google Labs have done a very nice job here.


Google Browser Sync Google Browser Sync Sign Up WizardGoogle Browser Sync Step 1

Google Browser Sync Enter PinGoogle Browser Sync Initial Sychronization Google Browser Sync Sucess Screen

Google Browser Sync Google Brower Sync Settings Window

If for some reason you are using Internet Explorer, get Firefox. It is worth trying. You can get it here:

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February 15th, 2007 Posted by admin | Google Browser Sync, Firefox, Firefox Add-on, Google, Uncategorized | 2 comments


  1. […] Read more at Linux Tech Daily […]

    Pingback by FreeSoftNews » Blog Archive » Firefox Add-On: Google Browser Sync | February 17, 2007

  2. Thank You

    Comment by Alex | April 25, 2007

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