The browser community was rocked when Xmarks announced it was shutting its doors back in September – this cross-platform bookmarks sync tool had become relied on by millions to back up and transfer bookmarks across multiple browsers and computers. Now LastPass, which operates a similar cross-platform tool for passwords and forms, has announced to its users that it’s acquired Xmarks and will continue the service along similar lines to its own model, with a free service backed up by a paid-for premium service with extra features to help fund its costs.
Xmarks exists as a free add-on for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, with the capability of synchronising bookmarks across multiple platforms and browsers through an account-based system. However, in recent years both Chrome and Firefox have introduced integrated bookmark sync tools into their browsers, which Xmarks cited as one reason for pulling out of the business. However LastPass, which is available as a browser add-on or as a standalone app for Windows, Mac and Linux, is bullish about Xmark’s chances in this shifting world: “People don’t want to be shelved into one box, they want to be able to jump between browsers and smartphones,” said LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist to Computerworld.
LastPass offers a similar free service for passwords and personal information, plus adds on a premium US$12 a year service for additional features including the ability to sync passwords to your mobile devices. This model has been extended to Xmarks – the free service remains, but a premium service costing US$12 a year is also available, with browser sync to mobile devices just one of a number of features designed to entice people to upgrade.
At the present time both services remain as separate entities, but comments by Siegrist suggest that the plan is to integrate the two at a later date as part of a drive to offer cross-platform synchronisation of all browser settings.