Xmarks Shutting Down in Early 2011

Back in June, I blogged about a great piece of software called Xmarks (previously known as Foxmarks when it was originally written as a plug-in for Firefox). In a nutshell, it allowed you to sync your bookmarks and your website credentials up to the cloud (over a secureand  encrypted connection) and then sync them down to your browsers across various computers. You also had the benefit of being able to get to your bookmarks online via the Xmarks website.

Unfortunately, Xmarks announced that they will be shutting down their service on 10th January, 2011. The company cited issues with sustaining its viability from a financial perspective and has attempted to find a buyer in order continue service. Significant hope was placed in a business model to monetise the service to come out of the woodwork as the service found legs but sadly that did not eventuate. The move is reminiscent of how Google terminated its browser sync plug-in for Firefox after what seemed to be quite a successful release.

To that end, Xmarks has lasted four years and has garnered a user base in the millions and stores over a billion bookmarks. Whilst this information could prove to be lucrative to various marketing and advertising companies, Xmarks has stated that they will not be selling the information and will destroy it upon closure of the service – an admirable approach.

So what can fill the void?

These days, modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox include some sort of bookmark sync functionality but this does not solve the issue when attempting to sync between the various browsers (i.e. Firefox -> Chrome, Safari -> Internet Explorer, etc) either on the same computer or different computers. There are solutions such as LastPass that specifically take care of credential storage and automated form filling but not quite suited to general bookmark syncing. There are other more suitable options but none as popular as Xmarks.

So if you have been using Xmarks, brace yourself as you might be in for some pain later on down the track.

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