Xmarks has been saved from the brink of extinction. The popular bookmark synchronization service allows users to install a browser plugin and keep their Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer bookmarks synchronized across multiple computers. Millions of people have used the service over the past few years, but Xmarks never really managed to come up with a profitable business model and was ready to close up shop.
Today the company announced that Xmarks has been acquired by LastPass.
This is pretty awesome news for anyone who has ever used Xmarks or LastPass. Over the past few months, LastPass has become my go-to source for browser password synchronization. I regularly use Google Chrome and Firefox on my primary computer, and with LastPass I can generate secure passwords for new accounts with any web site in one browser, and they’ll automatically be available on the other browser.
Things get even better when I switch to another computer, since I can either install the LastPass plugin or just visit the LastPass web site to access a listed of my saved sites and accounts and auto-login to any site without having to remember a secure, hard-to-recall password.
In fact, in some ways LastPass has replaced Xmarks for me, since it not only remembers passwords, but provides a quick and easy way to login to many of the sites I visit most frequently. But Xmarks fills in the blanks by keeping all my other bookmarks up to date, and integrating with the bookmarks menus of any browser I use.
There’s certainly a bit of overlap between the services Xmarks and LastPass offers. Both offer secure password sync for instance. But I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these apps. For now they’ll continue to operate as independent apps, but eventually the two services will merge.
LastPass operates on a freemium model, where you can create and use the basic service for free on most desktop or laptop computers, but you pay $12 per year for a Premium account which lets you use LastPass on mobile devices including an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone, or Symbian device.
Xmarks will now transition to a similar model, where you can use the basic service for free, or pay $12 per year for extra features including priority support and access to mobile apps. You can also pay $20 per year for Premium LastPass and Xmarks accounts. Unfortunately, some features that used to be free, such as synchronizing open tabs, will now only be available to premium users.
This is great news. . . Xmarks is the only decent cross-browsers bookmark sync utility around. Why the open-sourced browsers can’t make a good cross-browser sync utility is beyond me. . . but at least someone did it and someone is keeping them alive, nice!
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