When I read that Google was starting to support browser bookmark synchronization, I jumped on the new feature right away. Up to now, I’ve used the very solid Xmarks service to sync browser data between different computers as it works on Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. However, I’ve been using daily development builds of Chromium on my Mac lately. And that got me to put Chrome back on my Windows machines. So long story short, I downloaded the latest development build of Chrome on my new netbook to try the browser sync feature.
You can choose to import bookmarks from Internet Explorer, which is current functionality, or import from Google Toolbar. Using the second choice, Chrome pulls your bookmarked pages and folders from the online Google Bookmark service. In my quick test, all of my bookmarks were immediately pulled down, but they ended up in the “Other Bookmarks” folder within Chrome. As a result, I had to drop and drag them to my main Bookmarks bar in the browser.
Clearly, this is only the first of many steps that Google needs for bookmark synchronization in Chrome. The manual import I did has to become an automatic sync and any bookmarks added to Chrome have to get added to my Google Bookmarks profile. I can do that manually by adding the bookmarklet to Chrome, but again, manual won’t cut it. But at least, there’s some value-add already. I can store Chrome bookmarks in my Google account and pull them down from the cloud when I set up Chrome on other devices.
It’s interesting that Google abandoned their Google Browser Sync function last year — perhaps supporting other browsers didn’t fit in their long term plans. That’s what I sync, er think, anyway.
For now, there’s no reason to leave Xmarks or Mozilla’s Weave prototype, unless you have your heart set on using Chrome. Google has a way to go with the service and you’ll have to use the developer builds to use it anyway. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to use the dev builds of Chrome, I recommend you install the Google Chrome Channel Changer. This executable helps you switch between the dev, beta and stable versions of Chrome.