But it’s true: like Opera did a few years ago, Microsoft is dropping not only the old Internet Explorer engine, but the newer Edge engine, and will be building Edge on Chromium going forward. That means Edge, Chrome, Opera and Safari are all built on the same codebase. (Chromium split from Apple’s WebKit a while back, but they still have a lot in common.)
I think I may want to finally shut down or retool that old Alternative Browser Alliance site I ran during the Second Browser War. The last time I made a significant update to it, Chrome was the new upstart.
I got an email from LastPass that they’re dropping Xmarks on May 1. Xmarks is a cross-browser bookmark sync service that I’ve used for a long time to keep Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari on multiple computers using the same set of bookmarks.
Once it’s gone I can still sync Firefox across devices, Chrome across devices, etc., but that doesn’t help with syncing Firefox, Chrome, etc. with each other.
That said, it’s been a bit flaky for a while:
Anytime I came back to a system without using it for a while, it would have trouble syncing and have to re-download everything.
Sometimes it gets confused by the different folder layouts.
Since Firefox dropped their old extension API, the new extension hasn’t worked well with my scheme that drops all cookies when I close the browser except those on sites I want to stay logged into.
Maybe someone will pick them up again, like when they planned to close down in 2010 but LastPass bought them and took it freemium. On the other hand, I’m not sure I would trust someone who wanted to buy them now. Maybe I should pull my data early.
Whatever the case: If you sync bookmarks across different browsers, what do you use? Would you recommend it?
Overall I like having Chrome on my Nexus 7, but there are a couple of things about it that bug me.
First: You can’t hide the tabs and search/URL bar. That’s not a problem in portrait mode, but in landscape mode, it takes up way too much screen space. Otherwise the tablet would be perfect for things like reading comics at Thrillbent.
Second: Bookmarklets are tricky. Because on Android Chrome loads your bookmarks in a new tab, not a menu, when you tap on a bookmarklet, it acts on a blank page, not on the page you wanted to use it for. If you have an app that provides a sharing intent, no big deal. You just share the page to that app, and you’re done. But if you want to run something on the page, or share it with a website that has a bookmarklet but not an app (like, say, Pinterest or Timely), it would be nice to be able to run them.
Cool idea: Google is designing a “Web intents” system for web apps similar to intents in Android. For those who haven’t used Android, “intents” allow apps to register actions they can take — such as “I can share (or edit) images!” — and other apps to hand data over to them. That way your camera app doesn’t need to know about every possible image-sharing or editing app you can put on your phone.
It’s not a huge surprise, with all the major web browsers adding their own bookmark sync services, but Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) is shutting down in January.
I figure I’ll just use Firefox Sync, Chrome sync, Opera Link, etc. to share bookmarks between the desktop and laptop, but what I really liked Xmarks for was its ability to sync different browsers together. I’m always switching between Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari (and occasionally IE when I’m on a Windows box) and it’s nice to have them all on the same set of bookmarks.
I guess it’s back to periodically exporting from my main browser and importing in the secondary ones, unless I find a tool or find the time to read up on the bookmarks formats and write one.