How to sync browser bookmarks
Posted: 25th Jan 2012
Adding a regularly visited site as a bookmark to appear in your browser’s main bar or menu is still one of the easiest ways to make sense of the size of the world wide web. There are other, newer ways of keeping a record of must-read sites – like Instapaper or RSS feeds – but the humble browser bookmark, which has been with us since the dawn of the web, remains indispensable.
What has changed, however, is the sheer number of devices we use to browse the web now. A work PC, a home PC, laptop, tablet, phone, TV, games console – in an ideal world you’d be able to fire up the browser on whatever screen is in front of you and have all your bookmarks just appear before you, ready to go.
Of course, you can do exactly that. Here’s how:
1) It’s built into the browser
Google’s Chrome browser, Firefox and Opera all have bookmarking syncing built in, and Apple’s Safari will sync with iCloud too. All you need to do is open up the preferences menu from the browser of your choice, and register an account with their online servers.
The online downside is that you need to be using the same browser on all your devices for this to work – you can’t use Chrome on the desktop and sync your bookmarks with the iPhone’s Safari browser, for example, or Safari on the desktop and sync with an Android tablet or phone. The exception to this is that iCloud can import bookmarks from Internet Explorer.
2) Install an add-on
The way around this is to use a browser add-on which will keep your bookmarks in sync across devices. There are several pieces of software that can do this, but the one generally considered best is Xmarks.
This is a free add-on which works with any desktop browser other than Opera, and has a mobile app for iOS or Android. You’re free to use whichever browser you want, wherever you want. Any bookmarks you add will get remembered on all devices.
3) Use the web
One of the advantages of Xmarks or Google’s Chrome browser is that you can sign into the account you use for bookmark syncing via a web browser and see a list of all your remembered sites. Very useful if you’re using PCs in a cybercafe or an office computer which won’t let you install software.
4) Use your friends
‘Social’ bookmarking has been around for a decade or so, and involves posting recommended links on websites that anyone can browse and be inspired by. Services like Delicious or Pinboard allow you to remember tens of thousands of bookmarks, browse recommendations and keep your own private, carefully filed and tagged bookmarks too. Plus, there are add-ons to synchronise with browsers (like Xmarks) and mobile apps too.