This is my own fault, and I pretty much got what I deserved.
After putting a clean install of Tiger (OS X 10.4) on my PowerBook, I decided it would be a great time to test Google Browser Sync for Firefox.
For those that don’t know, Google Browser Sync is supposed to keep multiple instances of Firefox up to date. For example, you can have the same bookmarks, passwords (eep!), tabs, etc. on different computers. All the information is encrypted and stored on Google’s servers.
Since I switch constantly between my iMac and PowerBook, this seemed like a great idea. Unfortunately, after one day, I had lost most of my bookmarks. It seems that Google Browser Sync didn’t quite work the way I expected. Here were some issues that (probably) contributed to my bookmark lossage:
- Only 1 browser can be open at a time.
There’s nothing in the Google Browser Sync documentation (that I can find) that indicates this is the case. That being said, whenever I had two copies of Firefox open (one on each computer), Browser Sync did funky things on one or both. From what I can tell, this led to failed syncs, but I don’t believe it caused my bookmark lossage.
- If your laptop goes to sleep during a sync… Oops.
When it comes to lost bookmarks, this is probably the culprit. My theory is that while my laptop was updating Google’s servers I closed the lid and put it to sleep. At that point, Google decided that I had removed all the unsynced bookmarks, and removed them from the servers. This seems really hard to believe. I would expect the operation to need some sort of commit so that broken communications don’t break your synchronization. Still, the evidence doesn’t seem to point that way.
- Syncing all the available options can be fairly intense.
As I mentioned previously, you can sync almost every aspect of the browser. Unfortunately, syncing all this data takes a fair amount of time, even with broadband cable access. This might have led to timeouts with unfortunate results, but I doubt it. More likely it just slowed down my browsing. My recommendation would be to only sync the things you actually care about. Doh.
That’s just a few of the things I noticed. Since my bookmarks have disappeared from my browser, I decided that Google Browser Sync should, too.