Foxmarks Upgrades to Xmarks
For those of you not familiar with Foxmarks, now Xmarks, it synchronizes your bookmarks across your Firefox browsers. Basically, you create a username and password and install the Foxmarks plug-in on one of your computers. Then, you install the Foxmarks plug-in on your other computers and setup the same username and password and then Foxmarks works in the background to keep your book marks in sync.
If you add a bookmark on your laptop, Foxmarks synchronizes that bookmark with the Foxmarks site and then when you use your desktop browser, it retrieves that bookmark and adds it to your Firefox bookmarks on your desktop browser.
Where it gets really powerful and useful is when combined with the Read It Later plug-in which allows you to quickly bookmark sites that you come across that you would like to read but don’t have time to look at right now. This saves you from creating some temporary bookmarks folder that fills up with bookmarks that you don’t remember what they are for. Since the Read It Later plug-in stores your pages to be read later as bookmarks, they get synchronized by Foxmarks too which means that when you find a great gaming page, but you are at work, you just mark it to be read later, and then when you get home, the link is waiting there in the your Later folder.
Upgrading to Xmarks
Recently Foxmarks added the ability to synchronize passwords between browsers as well, so when you click Remember Password inside Firefox for a site, Foxmarks takes that password and syncs it up with your other PCs which is awesome if you don’t always remember every password for every site. You can disable this feature if it makes you nervous.
I’m perfectly happy with how Foxmarks works, so I’m slightly nervous about an "upgrade" that downloaded this morning. It seems that Foxmarks is becoming Xmarks, in no small part because they want to support more browsers than just Firefox, which is fine.
However, they are adding in a new "discovery" tool which essentially jumps in when you do a Google search and adds an icon based on which 3 of the results from your search are the most bookmarked by all Firefox users everywhere. You can turn this off too, but the concern is that the development might go in that direction and turn what was a simple set it and forget it plugin that just plain worked into a bloated plug-in that makes Firefox use even more memory and resources.
So far, that isn’t the case, but I always worry when software I depend on adds a new dimension or goes off in another direction. After all, there was a reason I liked it the way it was and I might not like it as much if it changed.
The guy who developed Foxmarks seems pretty in touch with his user community and I have no doubt that he’d love to find a way to make some money off of his now free plug-in, so I hope that this all works out. Otherwise, the great thing about Firefox and other open software is that someone else will come along and offer a "Foxmarks Classic" extension that implements the software the way it was.
Until then, I think I’ll take the new Xmarks for a spin. Who knows, it might be really great.