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Business - Written by on Thursday, July 10, 2008 13:36 - 1 Comment

Derek Pokora
Google abandonware becomes open source

It appears that Google has discontinued its use of Browser Sync, an extension for Firefox that continuously synchronizes your browser settings – including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords – across your computers. It also allows you to restore open tabs and windows across different machines and browser sessions. After the announcement, many requested that they release the code for further development. And that’s precisely what they did. Available at code.google.com, you can keep working on it. And if you want to work with it on Firefox 3, you’ll need to work on it. The app isn’t supported yet.

Why would Google dump this? They claim that it was so they could focus efforts on other products, like Toolbar and Gears, and to extend the capability of multiple browsers. I wonder though, is this really the reason? Think about it. With with the ever-increasing prevalence of mobile computing, and with social bookmarking managers such as del.icio.us, will people in the near future really need to be able to access the same bookmarks on the same browser? Information is voluntarily placed in (organized?) repositories in a centralized databases with better searching capabilities from individual access points.

The other issue is without Google hosting the information any more, you will need to host it on your own, or find someone you can trust with your information. The thread on Slashdot where I picked this up is pretty funny. Chrisq makes a point of stating,

with Google you knew where you stood. They might use your info to to target advertising. They might reveal it to the government if ordered to do so. They would not be likely to sell it to spammers or pass on lists…

I do think the best line though is about releasing Windows ME in the interest of tragic comedy!

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