Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

Bookmark Synchronizer Xmarks Hangs Up Their Hats 225

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the marked-for-death dept.
krulgar writes "On January 10, 2011, Xmarks will be closing their doors. A free service being replaced by free software. It would still be nice to have a single way to keep my bookmarks from my work machine in sync with my home machines and my mobile devices without exerting much effort. Xmarks seemed to be the only ones with that clear vision, maybe the replacement tools can grow into this space, but it's still a little sad to see a useful tool wave goodbye."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bookmark Synchronizer Xmarks Hangs Up Their Hats

Comments Filter:
  • Seems like an external server would be overkill for such a simple task. And think of the opportunities they for data mining. Xmarks can and should be replaced by a very small shell script.

    • Seems like an external server would be overkill for such a simple task. And think of the opportunities they for data mining. Xmarks can and should be replaced by a very small shell script.

      A couple disparate thoughts...

      - At least on Firefox, you could use your own server for XMarks synch storage. I haven't used XMarks in a while; but if this option is still available, then it should keep working for you - as long as the existing plugin works with future iterations of Firefox.

      - At least on Firefox, your bookmarks are no longer saved as a simple file. As such, a "very small shell script" would not do the same job. At the least, you'll have to learn how to script sqlite in order to do this - and

      • by Hatta (162192)

        I actually don't use bookmarks. Last I checked they were just stored in a simple HTML file. But, that shouldn't pose a problem. You can script sqlite from the command line. Still no reason to go full client/server.

      • Re:Overkill? (Score:4, Informative)

        by oneplus999 (907816) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:46PM (#33725228)

        At least on Firefox, your bookmarks are no longer saved as a simple file. As such, a "very small shell script" would not do the same job.

        go to about:config, change browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML to true.

        • by Ossifer (703813)

          I've used that ever since Netscape (whatever it's called now) stopped saving bookmarks in html by default (I've used the bookmarks.html file as my home page for about 15 years)...

          However, autoExportHTML is horribly implemented. It should auto-export ANY time there is a bookmarks change, not just at shutdown. I don't shut down firefox, essentially ever--it crashes, I have to kill it forcibly, system crashes, etc., otherwise it is always running. So autoExportHTML is almost useless to me...

          • by hairyfeet (841228)
            It sounds like what you want is FEBE [mozilla.org] to make sure you don't lose anything in case FF crashes. You can set it to backup as many times as you want, and it'll back up HTML bookmarks as well as the sqlite way. It sounds like just what you are looking for.
    • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:42PM (#33725176) Homepage Journal

      think of the opportunities they for data mining.

      Someday when I grow up I want to be fucking evil like you.

  • I REALLY loved Xmarks. It was so convenient across my 3 computers.

    Was it freeware or did they ask for a donation? I never saw any messages about donating but if I knew they were in trouble I would have give some money. This stinks. Hopefully someone will take over.

    This should be a feature built into every web browser anyways. Doesn't Chrome have this built in?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jaysyn (203771)

      Yeah, non-cross browser replacements are listed on the Xmarks website. I've already replaced it with Firefox Sync on two of my PCs..

    • by rwven (663186)

      Truly a tragedy. I've been a huge proponent of Xmarks for a while now, and I was anxiously awaiting their android release :-/

    • by Martz (861209)

      Don't forget to delete your Xmarks account by logging into the website and choosing My Account > Delete Account.

      I removed the xmarks extension from my browsers, and then wondered what would happen to my data. I can only assume it's gone now.

      In this day and age it's easy to litter the 'net with personal information.

  • Delicious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snookerhog (1835110) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:52PM (#33724308)
    delicious.com solved this for me a long time ago.

    What did Xmarks do that delicious does not?

    • delicious.com solved this for me a long time ago.

      What did Xmarks do that delicious does not?

      I'm not familiar with the details of delicious.com, but Xmarks syncs your bookmarks, history, open tabs and passwords across multiple browsers. I find the password sync in particular to be invaluable, but you can disable each of the four options depending on your preference. I'll miss them.

    • Re:Delicious (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:05PM (#33724564)

      For one, Xmarks synchronizes not just bookmarks. They synchronized passwords, history and tabs too, if the user enabled such options. If you are as paranoid about privacy as must /. users, you could use your own server.

      But it doesn't matter. Firefox Sync is built in to Firefox 4, and it does all that too.

      • by jbarr (2233)

        For me, Firefox Sync (formerly Weave) is a completely viable solution. But one thing that Xmarks has that Firefox Sync does not offer is Web-based access to the saved bookmarks. Just last night, I was at a relative's house, and used Xmarks' Web site to go to a link I had saved. I'm sure Firefox Sync could implement the same at some point, but with that minor exception, Firefox Sync performs just as well as Xmarks.

        • by Kalidor (94097)

          As a stopgap measure you could setup your FF to auto-export bookmarks to an html file and build a script to periodically update it to a personal webspace?

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Yes, but Firefox Sync presumably only works with Firefox. Xmarks was great because it worked with a handful of different browsers over a handful of different platforms. Every once in a while I need IE for something and it's really nice to have access to my main bookmarks from there as well.
      • Re:Delicious (Score:4, Insightful)

        by alexo (9335) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:15PM (#33727706) Journal

        But it doesn't matter. Firefox Sync is built in to Firefox 4, and it does all that too.

        FF Sync does not allow you to:

        1. Access your bookmarks from the web (when using somebody else's machine), and

        2. Have different profiles (not syncing the NSFW bookmark-subtree to your work machine)

        That said, I will start switching to FF Sync before Xmarks goes under so I can have a backup if anything foes wrong.

    • delicious.com solved this for me a long time ago.

      What did Xmarks do that delicious does not?

      Having to go to a particular web site to find a link is not nearly the same thing as synching your bookmarks across computers.

      • by kikito (971480)

        It has plugins for all major browsers. You don't have to go to any site.

      • by Americano (920576)

        del.icio.us has plugins for most (all?) major browsers, and syncs bookmarks just fine, last I checked.

        It does not, at last check, do all the password/history/tab syncing xmarks did.

        If you need a bookmark-only solution, del.icio.us works all right.

  • by RM6f9 (825298)

    Might be an opportunity for a micro-payment level subscription service here...

    • by vlm (69642)

      Might be an opportunity for a micro-payment level subscription service here...

      I can't read their minds nor speak for them, but I always figured their business plan revolved around the only thing more important / monetizable than what people search for, is what people find and decide to keep.

      Probably the synergy of their bookmark data with a search engine would have been great. As an example, I've bookmarked "the next hope" (NYC 2600 conference, etc etc) so that URL is probably the most relevant answer to a search of the words "the next hope".

      My guess is their game plan was to find a

      • by RM6f9 (825298)

        I find myself wondering what kind of numbers they'd need for a break-even, as well as how small the code would have to be for a mobile-device discriminating semi-sync version (only brings bookmarks to mobile-friendly or mobile-capable sites from one's home list)

      • by cgenman (325138)

        If they can read your bookmarks, they can know what you're interested in. If they know that, they can sell that information to advertising companies, who can target you more effectively.

        I doubt there is a lot of money to be made there, but it should be enough.

  • This Really Sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElusiveMind (1714020) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:56PM (#33724392) Homepage
    I've been using Xmarks since they were Foxmarks and it's the only tool out there that syncs multiple browsers. It's really handy when you have a folder full of client URL's and you need to check them on multiple browsers and operating systems. I'd gladly have paid for the service - but they never asked or proposed it. Sure some people would have balked and left, but those that stayed could have supported your business. I refuse to give my bookmark data to Google and I really just don't trust anyone else that is associated with a search engine or browser developer.
    • by vlm (69642)

      I'd gladly have paid for the service - but they never asked or proposed it.

      They had a 99 cent ipod app that worked quite well.

    • It doesn't do tab syncing, but it certainly does bookmark syncing, which seems to be what you really need. As far as I can tell it supports all the major browsers, too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtaylor (70602)

        Password syncing is what I really want. For the most part I can remember the websites but remembering the individual password used for each is virtually impossible.

    • It's really handy when you have a folder full of client URL's and you need to check them on multiple browsers and operating systems.

      If only there was some mechanism by which your browser could home in on a certain page of links when you started it. Bonus points if the mechanism provides an animated image reminding you and the other people who stopped on by to log into it that it's under construction.

  • Firefox Sync (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lennie (16154) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#33724480) Homepage

    You could also use Firefox Sync. It used to be called, Mozilla Weave and was an add-on, which will not be included in Firefox 4 proper.

    With Xmarks, they would be able to read your bookmarks, etc. With Firefox Sync everything that is stored/transfered is encrypted.

    It is even possible to setup your own 'server', have a look for "Weave Minimal Server", so you don't have to depend on Mozilla or anyone else.

    • by vlm (69642)

      It used to be called, Mozilla Weave and was an add-on, which will now be included in Firefox 4 proper.

      Changed your "not" to "now".

      As per

      http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/sync/ [mozilla.com]

    • by Jethro (14165)

      I really like Firefox Sync. Been using it since it was Weave (not that long ago...) and on my own server. I wish Chrome would support it. Also that when Fennec comes out for real it'll let you use your own servers!

      • by Kalidor (94097)

        I dunno about 'not that long ago.' I distinctly remember using it in my last job and that had to be sometime in '07? I'm sure I quit that job in December of '07.

  • by c (8461)

    I use Gmarks (Firefox extension) for this. Works pretty well if you don't mind the combination of Firefox and Google.

    • Just to be sure: if I get a gmarks extension on my firefox I can keep my bookmarls synchronized on Chrome AND Firefox? Because if its true, I am saved! That what I was really doing with xmarks...
      • by c (8461)

        > if I get a gmarks extension on my firefox I can
        > keep my bookmarls synchronized on Chrome AND Firefox?

        It's a Firefox extension (based around Google Notebook as a storage backend), so probably not. But I don't use Chrome; there may be a way to make it work.

  • Thanks guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:03PM (#33724538)
    It's sad that they've reached the point of having to shut down, but i've got to say that at least they've handled the situation with a lot of class. They're giving their users several months warning rather than just shutting down the servers overnight, and when they did market research that indicated there wouldn't be enough demand for a subscription version to sustain them they just decided not to offer one and shut down gracefully. As opposed to what seems to be the more common tactic of convincing their biggest supporters to hand over money for a little while and then having to shut down anyways, and then figure out how to do refunds or just tell everyone to go suck it.
  • Why didn't the developers ask to be paid for their service? I love their toolbar and bookmark synching and would gladly pay a yearly fee for it.. $10/$15 year seems fair. :)
  • You guys use a service to sync your bookmarks? I thought the slashdot crowd had privacy concerns over such stuff. Especially when the manual sync is just an scp command away...
    Personally, I have a different set of bookmarks at work than at home and the only time I would sync (via the aforementioned scp command) would be after setting up a new machine. But the last couple of years or so I have stopped copying over my old bookmarks to new machines. My favorite sites come up by typing the first couple of chara

    • I would use a shell script, but I also have Windows computers to use. Is there a good ftp/sftp Windows command line tool that I can script?
  • they synch nicely

  • And I also use it for other things, like sending links to friends.

  • by Pouic (1051024) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:28PM (#33724936)
    If you happen to have your own apache server handy, just setup up a personal server with Xmarks, it works beautifully (over https as well). I'm using this combination for quite some time now, with great satisfaction and independence. As stated above, I also don't want to store my private stuff on third party storage.
    • by smartin (942)

      I do this as well and it works great. Unfortunately they never released a version of the Safari plugin that worked with you own server.

    • by Nethead (1563)

      If you have your own server then just make a web page of all the links! Maybe call that page your "homepage" or something catchy like that.

  • Xmarks and Adblock are the two plugins I will instantly install on a new browser (well the latter for Firefox). Simple, reliable, cross-browser, does passwords as well as bookmarks, and over the years have shown they have no intention of misusing my personal information.

    A fantastic plugin that has greatly improved my browsing enjoyment. It will be sorely missed.

    Phillip.

  • I imagine that some smart people will make Sync plugins for other browsers.
  • by Rix (54095)

    Not everything can be monetized, I suppose. I'm certainly not blameless; I disabled their kinda creepy google shenanigans.

    Hopefully they'll release the plugin source, if they haven't already, so we can continue with our own servers.

  • by Zenaku (821866) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:19PM (#33725804)

    I am saddened to think of Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) going under. Their announcement email explained the situation very nicely, however, and one can hardly fault them for calling it quits. They were never able to monetize the data they aggregated, and not enough people would be willing to pay a subscription fee now that all the browsers are providing sync themselves.

    I've been their add-on since almost day one; at first they didn't even have a central server to provide the service, it was just an add-on that you could point to an ftp server of your choice. (You can still point it to an ftp or WebDAV server of your choice, so that is one way to keep using it, at least until browser updates break compatibility).

    Actually, Foxmarks once got a stolen laptop returned to me. About a month after my house was burglarized, I noticed new bookmarks showing up in my browser on my other machines. The person who "acquired" my laptop never bothered to wipe and reinstall, or even to create a new user account. So every time he bookmarked a URL, Foxmarks would diligently sync it to my other computers. So, from my own machine, I edited all of the bookmarks to point to a redirect page on my server. Once my changes were synced back to my stolen laptop, I was able to record its IP address every time he used one of his bookmarks. I gave that to the police, and another month later they got my laptop back after subpoenaing his ISP to get his address.

    So, Foxmarks has a special place in my heart.

    • by antdude (79039)

      How was the thief able to use your laptop? Didn't you secure your accounts with passwords in OS and/or BIOS/CMOS? Did he/she crack your password(s) (doubt it)?

    • by Patik (584959)
      That's a nice story, but Chloe O'Brien could've done it in far less than 2 months.
  • Try Google bookmarks (Score:4, Informative)

    by beernutz (16190) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:22PM (#33725856) Homepage Journal

    I really like the Google bookmark service.

    https://www.google.com/bookmarks/l [google.com]

    Uses labels like gmail, and has browser addons.

    FF:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2888/ [mozilla.org]

    It is built into chrome

    Safari:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/901411/goggles_use_google_bookmarks_with_safari.html?cat=15 [associatedcontent.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jbarr (2233)

      For just syncing bookmarks, this is a great alternative, and it gives you Web access to your bookmarks. Of course, Firefox Sync and Xmarks also optionally synced other information such as history, passwords, etc. but GMarks does look solid.

  • I used XMarks back when it was called FoxMarks! Get off my lawn!

    But seriously, I thought it had a way to use a private server for storing the synchronization file?

    I've since moved to Chrome which has it built in, as does Opera so a coworker tells me.

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain

Working...