You are mobile. You employees are mobile. If you’re a forward-thinking company, you realize that by enabling a mobile workforce, you get more out of your employees. Rightly or wrongly, they are “switched on” and likely accessible anywhere, anytime. Perhaps your employees take their laptops home or use a virtual machine to “telnet” into their work desktop? More likely, they have mobile web devices like iPhones, Blackberries or other smartphones. One nagging issue the mobile workforce faces is accessing information. In this Tech Tip we’ll look at a few ways to access the World Wide Web consistently and easily independent of the system you’re using or the location you’re at. More specifically, we’ll look at how to maintain your favorite and most-used bookmarks…
Every web surfer has their preferred web browser & favorite websites they use on a regular basis. Most users today are savvy enough to bookmark their “favorites” whether they are on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari browsers (and believe us, people are very loyal to their preferred browser…) But when you’re mobile, how do you keep your bookmarked favorites on your home system or laptop in sync with your desktop back at the office? After recently being faced with this task in preparation for wiping a hard-drive (and preserving the bookmarks) the question was “what is the best way to go about this?”
The first & most obvious thing you can do, is export your bookmarks from one system and then import them to the other. This is NOT ideal as you will likely have a great deal of overlap already which leaves you faced with duplicate records and file folders that may be similar but not exactly the same…basically, a lot of clean-up to do and then anytime afterwards that you add or subtract a bookmark from one system, you need to do it again to keep them “in sync”.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to save your favorites somewhere “in the cloud” and then access them from anywhere, any platform? But how do you go about this? Let’s look at two popular services or add-ons out there to do just that…
According to Xmarks own description, it “is the #1 bookmarking add-on. Keep your bookmarks, passwords and open tabs backed up and synchronized across computers and browsers. Search smarter with website ratings and reviews displayed with your search results.”
They also claim that “it takes only a moment to get up and running with Xmarks. After you install the add-on, click on the notification to set up Xmarks and start backing up and synchronizing your bookmarks. Install Xmarks on each computer you use, and it seamlessly integrates with your web browser and keeps your bookmarks safely backed up and in sync.” Unlike our next example, Xmarks also claims to “work seamlessly across browsers. Today we support Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari (MacOS only), and Google Chrome.
Speaking of Google Chrome, if you happen to be a Chrome user, or game to try it, one of its built-in features is a setting called Sync. According to their description you can “keep your bookmarks, browser preferences, and browser theme synchronized on multiple computers, using your Google Account. This can be handy if you often switch between different computers (say, your home computer as well as your work laptop) and want the same Google Chrome settings across your computers.”
If you’re wondering how it works, Google explains “Your settings are saved in your Google Account.
When you enable sync on a computer, your Google Chrome settings on that computer are saved in your Google Account. When you enable sync on another computer by signing in to the same Google Account, Google Chrome copies the settings you’ve selected to sync from your Google Account to the computer. Bookmarks from this second computer are merged with the existing bookmarks in your Google Account.
Changes you make to your settings on one computer are automatically reflected on the other computers where you've enabled the sync feature. Your bookmarks appear in a new folder called "Google Chrome." So if you ever need to access your bookmarks on a different browser or computer, you can just visit Google Docs.
Next Tech Tip we’ll examine a different type of bookmarking that you can do “in the cloud” – social bookmarking – or using crowd-sourcing to expand your surfing or researching options based on your likes and dislikes compared to those of the masses…