Google browser sync

by Volker Weber

Google Browser Sync for Firefox is an extension that continuously synchronizes your browser settings - including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords - across your computers. It also allows you to restore open tabs and windows across different machines and browser sessions.

You can only run one Firefox at a time. It's apparently not easy to build a sync mechanism, let alone replication. This would be no-brainer in Notes, and it is interesting to see how other people struggle with the concept.

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And now Google owns your "bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords" as well...

Ole Saalmann, 2006-06-08

Maybe you should read the FAQ.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-08

Might be a great tool. However, syncing that sort of information should be done by the operating system itself. Or at least by a system-wide service. So I prefer iSync's approach.

Martin Kautz, 2006-06-08

1) "We use your PIN to unlock that information." That's all i need to know...

2) It is not explained where the PIN is stored. The steps described in "I forgot my PIN, what should I do?" are a bit too easy
2.a) the PIN is stored i.e. in the prefs.js encrypted or unencrypted. Either way, it's too simple. What happens if your machine crashes?
2.b) the PIN is stored elsewhere (on a windows machine maybe in the registry); this is odd, too
2.c) the button described opens a connection to a Google server and decrypts your PIN with a "master pin". That means, that Google always can read and use your PIN and you will never know it.

3) Why do i need a Google account? Such an account means both that the sync'ed data can be reached all over the world in the same way (good) and it means that all data can be tracked down to a particular user (bad, at least for me). Together with the data from the other Google "services" (esp. Googlemail) this does not leave the question open *if* but *for what price* the data are sold.

Ralf Stellmacher, 2006-06-08

...your browser settings - including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords - across your computers.

Humm... across your computers (and theirs).


Pieter Lansbergen, 2006-06-08

Heck with syncing that stuff - the only one of those things I want travelling around multiple computers is bookmarks, and I do all that via a wiki.

Give me true two way syncing between the Gmail address book/Google Calendar, iCal/Address Book/Outlook, and a mobile device.

Kevan Emmott, 2006-06-08

Looks like at least Microsoft gave up struggling.

Oliver Regelmann, 2006-06-08

I think I just use Google apps which don't need an account and leave those which do. Never having had a gmail account helps :) Keeps my private data private. For syncing Firefox-relevant data (and all the other stuff in my user account) between my two Macs Automator and rsync do the job also.

Kai Scharwacht, 2006-06-08

Kevan, first of all, from what I read in the help and other documents concerning Google's calendar, those syncing mechanisms are in the works, their just not ready yet. Give them some time and they'll be available in U.S. networks, and sometime afterwards probably in other major countries as well. Second, you do all that what you wish to have available via your wiki. Nice. Works for you. You are probably not in the target group then. Fine. Others out there don't have neither the skills nor the resources to maintain their own wiki. For those Google sync might be a very interesting alternative.

Don't get me wrong, I am also very concerned about the privacy aspects of the solution. I would never sync my passwords to a server owned and operated by any company. I do have my passwords stored securely (I think) on my primary PC and on my mobile (synched). No physical storage of those where I'm not in physical control of the device. But generally, some of the aspects of the service do make sense to a lot of users.

Just my two cents...

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-06-08

I'd also see bookmark replication as a use case for Notes/Hannover.

But I guess that Lotus doen't see it this way, still being somewhat challenged by setting up their RHEL server farm O:-)

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-06-09

If anybody has bookmarks that are so super secret, that you think your encryption will be broken to get at them, you can still use Bookmarks Synchronizer 3 and set up an infrastructure that protects them better. Don't forget to encrypt those backups.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-09

Volker, it's not about encrpyting things, but rather about centralizing storage and mining the stored data.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-06-09

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