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Examining Chrome and Firefox bookmark sync protocols
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:14   #1
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Default Examining Chrome and Firefox bookmark sync protocols

In a recent announcement, Xmarks revealed that it can no longer afford to continue operating its popular cross-browser bookmark synchronization service. Although Xmarks attracted a significant audience of users, the company was never able to build a sustainable business around the software. Xmarks cofounder Todd Agulnick says that the lights are scheduled to go out in 90 days unless the company can come up with a successful freemium strategy or a buyer emerges.

This is a disappointing development for those of us who rely on Xmarks' excellent browser add-ons and reliable synchronization service. A number of popular Web browsers have their own built-in synchronization offerings, but none appear to be truly conducive to cross-browser synchronization. This inspired me to take a close look at the bookmark sync APIs in Firefox and Chrome in order to evaluate their conduciveness to third-party interoperability and determine if the potential exists for an Xmarks successor to emerge.

What I found are a lot of challenges and not a lot of easy solutions. The native synchronization services for Chrome and Firefox are compelling and have a lot of potential, but interoperability doesn't yet appear to be an immediate priority for either one at this stage.

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