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?
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.
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.
It’s a safe bet that your web browser uses at least one plugin, and probably several. Maybe it’s just Flash for viewing animations and video (think YouTube and Hulu). Maybe it’s Silverlight for watching Netflix, or Shockwave for playing games. You’ve probably got Java installed.
Just like your web browser, these plugins must be kept up to date or you’ll run into problems: missing features, instability, or (worst case) security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, most plugins don’t update themselves.
Several months ago, Mozilla introduced a service called Plugin Check that will identify the plugins you have installed and tell you whether they need to be updated — and how to do it. At first it only worked on Firefox, but now it’s been expanded to all major browsers: Chrome, Safari, Opera, and even Internet Explorer.
It’s worth taking a few moments to check. Think of it as a pit stop for your computer’s web browser.