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June 13, 2008

Google Browser Sync To Be Discontinued

Google Browser Sync is a Firefox extension that synchronizes your bookmarks, web history, browser sessions and passwords across multiple computers by temporarily saving them to Google's servers. Unfortunately, this was the project of a small team at Google and it's no longer maintained. The extension won't be updated for Firefox 3 and the service will only be available until the end of 2008. Here's the message received from Google by an inquisitive user:
It was a tough call, but we decided to phase out support for Browser Sync. Since the team has moved on to other projects that are keeping them busy, we don't have time to update the extension to work with Firefox 3 or to continue to maintain it.

For those of you who want to continue to use Firefox 2, we'll maintain support for old versions of Google Browser Sync through 2008. After that, we can recommend a few other products that scratch a similar itch. We hope that one of them works for you:

* Mozilla Weave from Mozilla Labs - Offers bookmark and history synchronization across computers.

* Google Toolbar for Firefox - Store your bookmarks online and access them from any computer online. [although, this is not 3.0 compatible as of writing]

* Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer - Synchronizes your bookmarks across all computers where it is installed.

The latest version of Opera also includes a feature that synchronizes bookmarks across computers and mobile devices, so we'll probably see it in the next versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer.

It's pretty sad that Browser Sync wasn't considered important. The extension could have been the first step towards an online Google desktop, available from any computer and always updated. I'll miss the feature that restores the last session remotely.


Update: Mozilla Weave will add support for synchronizing cookies, passwords, saved form data and sessions, in addition to bookmarks and browsing history. "The next major update to Weave [is] expected to be ready for wider testing shortly after the release of Firefox 3". As you probably know, Firefox 3 will be released next Tuesday.

{ via Alex Polvi }

Update: There's an official announcement from Google. "Phasing out Google Browser Sync was a tough call but we have decided to focus our efforts on other products, like Toolbar and Gears, that also extend the capability of multiple browsers. We've posted the code to Google Code in hopes that someone will use it to develop something cool."

This blog is not affiliated with Google.