Thursday, December 30, 2010

Xmarks for Dolphin HD Has Arrived!

The Xmarks plugin for the Dolphin HD Browser for Android is now available for download in the Android market.

First search for the Dolphin HD Browser in the market and download to your Droid. Once installation is complete you can navigate back to the market to search for "Xmarks Dolphin" and install the plugin. After launching the Dolphin Browser, you can swipe the screen to the left to view the extensions toolbar, where Xmarks should now appear:


Tapping on the icon allows you to login to your account and initiate syncing of your stored bookmarks:



Once synchronization is complete, you can swipe to the right to view your Bookmarks bar. Tapping on a bookmark entry launches it in the Dolphin browser.


To view your bookmarks in folder format, you can either tap 'Bookmarks' at the bottom of the Bookmarks bar, or you can swipe left, click on the gear icon, and tap 'Bookmarks'.


Xmarks for Dolphin is a Premium product, with a two-week free trial that allows you to test it out before committing to a Premium upgrade.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Direct Import from Delicious

go to http://buy.xmarks.com/delicious.php
Following our previous post about migrating from Delicious to Xmarks, we have officially released a direct importer for your Delicious bookmarks.

If you're ready to export from Delicious, go to http://buy.xmarks.com/delicious.php, where you may be prompted to login to Xmarks if you're not already:



After logging in to your Xmarks account, you'll be prompted to select the type of Delicious account you use, either the newer login via your Yahoo! account, or the older login with your del.icio.us:



After signing in, you will see a table with the Delicious bookmarks that are available for import:


Once you have selected and double-checked your bookmarks for import, you can click "Import Selected Items" to initiate import, after which you'll receive an "import successful" message.

You will automatically be redirected to my.xmarks.com where you can see a new folder for your imported Delicious sites:



If you select "Details" for a specific bookmark, you'll be able to pull up the edit box and view the Delicious tags for that site:



If you run into any sync errors please email us at support@xmarks.com with details; there are some limitations with Yahoo's API that could cause problems for a few users.

Help spread the word to those who would consider Xmarks as an alternative choice!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Xmarks for BlackBerry

xmarks for blackberry



We're excited to announce our new offering for Xmarks Premium users, the release of our new Xmarks for BlackBerry app! As part of our effort to expand our support for multiple platforms and devices, the Xmarks app makes syncing and editing your bookmarks easy while you're on the go.

The application can be downloaded at http://lastpass.com/xb for BBOS 5+ and is coming soon to BlackBerry App World. Xmarks for BlackBerry is free for all Xmarks Premium users, while there's a free 14-day trial if you'd like to test it out before subscribing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Migrating from Delicious to Xmarks

We've heard the news about Delicious, and want our users to know that we're currently working on a solution for migrating your Delicious bookmarks directly to Xmarks.

It's already possible to import your Delicious bookmarks by exporting to your favorite browser, setting up and installing Xmarks, and then syncing the browser data to your Xmarks account. We recommend checking out the Lifehacker article on how to get started: http://lifehacker.com/5714313/.

We will have a direct importer available within the next day or so to make the process even easier.

If you have friends or family currently using Delicious who are looking for an alternative, recommend Xmarks!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Xmarks for Android is here!




In case you missed it in the excitement of our acquisition announcement last week, we wanted to officially announce the release of our new Android app!

Xmarks Premium users can now download the app from the Android market to start accessing your desktop bookmarks and open tabs on your mobile device.

Launching the Xmarks app brings up a list of your folders and sites as you've arranged them in your desktop vault, allowing you to quickly scroll through to select a bookmark:

Tapping on one of your listed sites will launch the URL in your default browser:



In addition to easy access to your favorite sites, the Android app includes an Open Tab feature that lets you grab the URLs for any active tabs on your desktop. If you're running out the door and later need access to the sites you left open on your computer, you can easily access and launch them from your mobile device with Open Tab Sync.

There's a 2-week free trial for the Android app, so try it out before upgrading!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

LastPass Acquires Xmarks!




Today we're excited to announce that Xmarks has been acquired by LastPass, makers of a leading cross-platform password manager. It's a great opportunity that ensures the survival of Xmarks as the same service that you know and love.

In the last few years, we've attracted over 4.5 million users syncing more than 1 billion bookmarks across 5 million computers. Most importantly, we've provided a simple solution to help people easily access their bookmarks, wherever and whenever they needed to. We've had thousands of users tell us that Xmarks has become an integral part of their browsing experience. You can rest assured that LastPass will continue to build upon the service in the coming months.

We're also committed to keeping Xmarks free while implementing a viable long-term plan. Xmarks is transitioning to a "freemium" business model, the same model that allowed LastPass to grow into a thriving, profitable business. The browser add-on and the vast majority of what users have enjoyed remains free. Users can then opt to purchase Xmarks Premium for $12 per year, which includes new enhanced features like Android and iPhone mobile phone apps, priority support, and more. The Xmarks and LastPass Premium offerings are also available bundled together at a reduced subscription rate of $20 per year. For those of you who pledged your financial support, you can make good on your pledge today and upgrade.

The restructuring of the Xmarks offerings will accelerate the introduction of new features and service improvements. The two services will continue to require separate downloads and will be administered through two distinct extensions and websites, although there are plans to integrate them in the future.

We believe the acquisition will prove to be a success because of the common mission shared by LastPass and Xmarks. Xmarks complements LastPass' vision of secure, universal access to the information that gives you entry to your digital life. By joining LastPass, Xmarks will also be able to accelerate the introduction of new features and developments. As the ultimate cross-browser, cross-platform team, Xmarks and LastPass will work together to help more people simplify their digital lives and access their data from anywhere, at any time.

We're excited to join forces with LastPass and be a part of a team that will continue to provide the best data-syncing tools out there! We hope you will support both of these great services through your business and your Premium subscription. For more information, please see the FAQs.

The Xmarks & LastPass Teams

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Xmarks: Alive and Kicking

You're still alive, she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be
Is that the question
And if so...if so...who answers...who answers...
I, oh, I'm still alive!

from Alive by Pearl Jam




I'm pleased to announce that we're in the final stages of completing a sale of Xmarks to a new owner who is 100% committed to keep our great browser sync service running smoothly.

The Xmarks service will evolve to have both a free component and a premium component - we'll share all the details once the deal is done. For all of you that signed our pledge, or are asking us to reopen the pledge, please hold that thought. When we update the service we'll have a premium option for you to spend some of your hard earned money on, and we will be very thankful when you do!

I can't provide more details just yet, but I wanted to publish this update to let you all know that we're alive and kicking and things are on track for a "new and improved" Xmarks.

Regards,
James

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Xmarks Victory for the Users, by the Users

The past ten days have been an amazing lesson in the power of community. Not in the "web 2.0 social graph" sense – I’m talking about old school community with users speaking up, speaking out and banding together. Thank you Xmarks users. You told the world it was simply unacceptable for our service to shut down and it worked. Thanks to your passion, Xmarks now has multiple offers from companies ready and willing to take over the service and keep making browser sync better and better!

This is not a signed, sealed done deal yet. But with multiple offers on the table we're pretty confident that Xmarks will continue on with no service interruption. Our style of transparent blog updates has worked so well in this process we want to continue that approach and share this news with you. Some may accuse us of masterminding this whole process; I wish we were that clever! Instead we give the credit to our user base, who spoke up in a way that caught the attention of bloggers and journalists around the world and, in turn, generated new options for the service to live on.

I can't share any more specifics yet but it shouldn't take too long - we're hustling to get a deal completed in the near future. Many of you know that we set up a pledge page where users can commit to paying $10 - $20 annually for Xmarks:

Click here to make the Xmarks Pledge

We're close to thirty thousand pledges already, and that's without promoting this to our entire user base. We made a conscious decision to stop our email campaign to users about service shutdown given our options for a new lease on life - now we're holding off on sending a massive email update until we have concrete news about a new owner of Xmarks.

Thanks to all of you who pledged so far. This has really helped show the value of Xmarks to potential buyers. We don't know for certain how "Xmarks Premium" will play out, but early indications are that some basic Xmarks features will remain free with more advanced features reserved for Premium users.

Stay tuned for more details soon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Xmarks is Dead. Long Live Xmarks?

First off, a big thanks to all of you that sent kudos and “Nooooooo’s” in response to our shutdown announcement. We take enormous pride in the sync service we worked so hard to create and it means a lot to hear how much our users love what we’ve built.

We've also received a lot of credible interest from companies interested in acquiring the Xmarks assets and taking over the service - no guarantees, but we've been pleasantly surprised by the volume of interest and we may yet find a path to a continued Xmarks sync service.

But on to the main thing we've heard... many of you have cried from the rooftops that you would be willing to pay for Xmarks. There’s an interesting thread on our customer support forums discussing this. I want to add some history and data to this discussion, so you can better understand where we’ve been as a startup and why we haven't tried to pivot into a premium service.

But first, the punch line: we're revisiting the idea of Xmarks as a premium service. We've set up a Pledgebank page where you can sign up if you're willing to pay at least $10 a year for Xmarks. No credit card is required, but please only pledge if you are genuinely willing and able to pay:

www.pledgebank.com/XmarksPremium

This is not a scientific experiment to predict what % of our base will pay, but it's a data point that will definitely help.

So, why hasn't Xmarks tried to charge for a premium service in the past? Here's a three-part answer:

1) Charging users for sync was not our original strategy


  • Foxmarks started, before I joined, with a strategy to crowd-source bookmarks at scale and then aggregate and analyze that data to create valuable new web services that tens of millions of users would use every day.




  • As CEO, under the direction of my investors, I led my team to execute on that original vision. I’m proud of how agile we were in launching, testing, and iterating on a number of search and discovery services. Ultimately, none of those services achieved significant user traction and scale, but they were spot on our strategy of leveraging our “corpus” of over one billion bookmarks. Keeping the sync service was an essential part of our strategy to grow that bookmark corpus as quickly as possible.



2) Early "freemium" tests and models were discouraging


  • We were one of the first add-ons to turn on the Mozilla “contributions” feature, allowing users to make a suggested $7 donation when they download Xmarks. Participation was abysmal… less that 0.001% of users contributed. (Interestingly, most of the contributions came from Europe, not from the US.)




  • In a true freemium model, we would hold some features back behind a pay wall. Successful services in this category typically see 1-3% of free users convert to paid. The popular service Evernote, for example, have said publicly that 2% of their free users convert.




  • For Xmarks, 2% of our two million users paying $10 a year would generate $400,000 of annual revenue. Today Xmarks costs over $2 million a year to run. For two developers in a garage this could be a nice business, but we had big aspirations (per point #1) and have already invested $9 million dollars to create the technology and grow the data corpus. If $2MM / year seems crazy high to you, remember that we staffed senior engineers to keep up with changes on multiple browsers and operating systems, plus a team building our search features.




3) Free alternatives have significant market power


  • The advent of Mozilla and Google building in sync to Firefox and Chrome has had significant negative impact on Xmarks. While we have lots of users signing up for Xmarks, we have also seen increased "churn," with users switching over to the native Firefox and Chrome sync solutions. When Firefox 4 is released with free sync built in, it will become harder for a standalone add-on that must be purchased and installed separately to compete.

    UPDATE: Many comments point out that Xmarks is the only game in town for cross-browser sync; that's something that Firefox or Chrome can't hold a candle to. Absolutely true! Point #3 is still relevant to our business prospects, as over 75% of our current users are Firefox-only.



    Hopefully you can see that, for us and our investors, we were aiming for a different business, and staffing at a different level, than what it is likely appropriate for a freemium model. For a new company taking a fresh start with Xmarks, a freemium model could be really compelling. The overwhelming positive user support from all of you, combined with strong interest by companies looking to take over Xmarks, means that the service might just find a ninth life. Please stay tuned.

    James Joaquin
    CEO, Xmarks Inc.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Xmarks for Firefox, now with History Sync

Today, we're happy to announce that the newest version of our Firefox extension adds support for opt-in synchronization of browser history, rounding out a lineup that includes synchronization of bookmarks, passwords, and open tabs. This latest version also includes beta support for Firefox 4. We'll be rolling this out to the entire userbase in the coming weeks, but if you're interested in a sneak preview, you can download an early version here:



To enable History Sync, navigate to the "Sync" pane of the Xmarks Settings dialog (Tools → Xmarks Settings → Sync) and click the checkbox next to History:





Do the same thing on two or more computers running Xmarks for Firefox, and those computers will automatically and silently start exchanging history information. Easy!



If you're interested in understanding more deeply how it works and some of the design trade-offs we faced to make this happen, read on below the fold. And feel free to let us know how it works for you in the comments.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Xmarks for iPhone & iPad v1.2.7

A new version of our Xmarks iApp is now live in the iTunes app store. Here are some feature highlights, including new full screen browsing for the iPad:

Navigate and search your browser bookmarks:



Retrieve an open browser tab from any of your computers:




Switch between bookmarks & built-in browser without leaving the app:





When running on the iPad, version 1.2.7 gives you full screen browsing.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Xmarks for iPhone & iPod touch Now Available



The Xmarks mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch is now available in Apple's iTunes App Store at the less-than-a-latte price of $0.99.

It's designed for Xmarks users that want to access all their desktop bookmarks and open tabs on their iDevice.

It works with all versions of the iPhone & iPod touch, with iPad support coming soon.

Key features include:

  • works with Xmarks for IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Mac Safari

  • access all bookmark folders including your bookmarks toolbar

  • bookmark search

  • open remote tabs across all your computers & browsers

  • built-in browser to view your bookmarks without leaving the app



UPDATE: Version 1.25 is NOW AVAILABLE in the iTunes App Store! This version adds a more streamlined user interface and a fix for the iPad bug in the previous version.

Coming Soon to Xmarks for iPhone:

  • improved user interface

  • ability to add and edit bookmarks for 2-way sync

  • full screen iPad support

  • and lots more!


Remember that even without Xmarks for iPhone (or an iPhone for that matter), you can point any smartphone to my.xmarks.com and get mobile access to your bookmarks and open tabs.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Xmarks Password Sync for Chrome!

ChromeSettingsPwdSync

Since we first launched Xmarks for Chrome last August, you've been asking us when we're going to add password sync.  Does today work for you?

Xmarks now synchronizes your bookmarks, passwords, and open tabs across both Firefox and Chrome! 

UPDATE: We've released a new version of Xmarks for Chrome that includes (as a default-off option) password sync. You can find it here in the Google Extensions Gallery.


Just like our password sync in Firefox, password sync in Chrome is 100% optional and is turned off by default. Your passwords are secured by encrypting them before they leave your computer with a PIN that only you know.  (Learn more about how we keep your password information safe.)

Unlike Firefox, Chrome's built-in password manager is not available to extension developers; so instead we have created our own Xmarks password manager that you can access from the Xmarks settings. And if you need any more encouragement to give it a try, remember we recently released Restore for passwords, so you can go back again if anything goes wrong (which it won't!).

Please give it a try and let us know how it goes for you in the comments here or on our support forum.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Firefox reaches "2 billion Add-ons downloaded" milestone

Mozilla reported a major milestone on July 1st: the total number of Firefox Add-ons downloaded crossed the 2 billion mark. In honor of the occasion, Mozilla published a 'Best of Two Billion' add-on collection, and Xmarks made the list! Thanks to all of you, our Xmarks add-ons have been downloaded over twenty million times; we’re very happy to have contributed a solid percentage of Mozilla's 2 billion watermark.

Congratulations, Mozilla, and thank you, Xmarks users!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Xmarks 3.7 Released: Password Restore and More!

We're in the process of releasing version 3.7 of our Firefox add-on. If you haven't already received an update notification from Firefox, you will soon.

For most people, this should be a fairly uneventful update. But the new version does contain a raft of changes, and we wanted to highlight some of the more significant ones.

Update: If you're having problems logging in with this version and you have also installed NoScript, make sure that you have whitelisted xmarks.com.


  • Password Restore: We've supported bookmark restore for quite some time now, a feature that our users regularly tell us has saved their bacon after a hard-drive failure or other corruption. We now also support password restore, which we think will also prove indispensable if you experience an unfortunate data loss. The feature itself lives in My.Xmarks, and it works with this version of the Xmarks addon. You can find it in the Tools menu of My.Xmarks.

  • Authentication: The way we handled authentication previously caused inconvenience to users who either enable the Firefox Master Password or don't let Firefox store passwords. If you're one of these users, you know that automatic sync would trigger a password prompt the first time Xmarks synced after a browser restart. That's no longer the case. Once you log in, you should remain logged in; just remember to check the "Remember Me" box.

  • Suspend: For most users, Xmarks operates transparently in the background. For users with huge datasets and older computers with limited memory and CPU, that's not always the case. We've recently made improvements in Xmarks' efficiency, but now there's another option: if you log out (press the Log Out button the first page of the settings dialog), Xmarks will suspend automatic sync until you log in again or restart your browser. This can be handy when you're working on something else and don't want Xmarks to get in your way.

  • Detect Offline: If you're on a laptop with a wireless network connection, you know that your connection comes and goes depending on your location, or whether you're putting your laptop to sleep or waking it up. Previously, if your network was unavailable when Xmarks decided it was time to sync, you'd see an error in the status bar. Now, Xmarks will defer automatic sync requests until the network becomes available again.

  • Sync on Shutdown: Xmarks has always provided the option to sync your data when the browser is shutting down to ensure that any recent changes you've made are available to other browsers and computers that you use. Previously, if Xmarks had any changes to sync, it would sync every datatype that you had enabled: bookmarks, passwords, and tabs. Now it syncs only what's necessary, making shutdown substantially faster.

  • And more! There is a handful of other minor changes and improvements, ranging from password-sync bug fixes to the ability to cancel an in-progress automatic sync. We hope you enjoy the new version and (if you celebrate it) have a great Independence Day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Xmarks Voted Best by Lifehacker Readers

Best Bookmark Management Tool

We almost forgot to post this... A few weeks ago one of our favorite sites, Lifehacker.com, ran a user poll to find out who to crown as "Best Bookmark Management Tool". Thanks to lots of loyal Xmarks users who voted, we crushed it and took the top spot with almost 50% of the total votes cast!

More details and comments at the full Lifehacker article.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Xmarks... in Hama Beads!

xmarks_hama_beads

We were delighted to see one of our Xmarks users post this image to Flickr: three browser favicons, including Xmarks, created out of Hama Beads!

Thanks and photo credit to lwordish2010. It's great to know our logo holds up at hama-bead-resolution ;-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Xmarks Tab Sync for iPhone and the web!

We've been on a roll lately with tab sync. Three weeks ago we announced Tab Sync for Firefox. Two weeks ago, we announced parallel support for Internet Explorer and Chrome. This week, we're happy to announce that you can open remote tabs from your iPhone -- or any device with a browser.



To check it out, open your browser and log into your account at My Xmarks.com. If you're using an iPhone, you'll see something that looks like this:


Xmarks Tab Sync on iPhone


Click the Open Tabs button to see a list of your computers, browsers, and their open tabs. Click on a tab and presto! It opens on your phone.



If you're using a browser on a desktop or laptop computer, you'll find Open Tabs in the Tools menu of My Xmarks.com:


Xmarks Tab Sync Tools Menu

Just click the Open Remote Tabs menu item to see the familiar display of all your open tabs.



What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tab Sync coming to Xmarks for Chrome and IE

Earlier this month we announced tab sync in Xmarks for Firefox, a new feature that allows users to access their open Firefox tabs from other computers. This week we're happy to announce that tab sync will soon be available in Xmarks for Chrome and Xmarks for IE as well! The new feature works similarly across all three Xmarks synchronizers, allowing you to access your open windows and tabs on other computers and other browsers. A more detailed explanation of how tab sync works can be found in the original blog post on the feature.

The update will be rolled out to all of our Xmarks for Chrome and IE users this week. (If you can't wait, get the Chrome version here, or the IE version here.) We hope you enjoy it—let us know how it's working for you!

xmarks-tab-sync-Chrome

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to View your Xmarks Bookmarks on the iPad

Xmarks on the iPad

Before you get too excited, this is not an announcement of Xmarks Sync for the iPad - we need Apple to open up APIs to their Mobile Safari web browser before we can build that. What you can do today from your iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch) is to visit my.xmarks.com

Once you log in, you'll see an iPad-optimized view of your bookmarks, including your folders and your "Bookmarks Toolbar" folder.

Two quick features to note:

1) in the top right there's a "Find" button - use that to search for a particular bookmark.

2) in the bottom left there's a "View My Xmarks in:" setting. Click on "Classic" to switch to the standard my.xmarks.com web site where you can add, delete, edit and reorder bookmarks and access our advanced features like sync profiles.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tab Sync in Xmarks (again)!

If you were one of the intrepid early adopters of Xmarks for Firefox 3.6.3 and you are using Xmarks to sync your passwords, please upgrade to the latest version immediately. The new version fixes a critical bug in Password Sync inadvertently introduced when we reorganized the internals of the add-on to support Tab Sync.

Thanks to all who have provided feedback and pointed out bugs. We're still on track to deploy Tab Sync more widely next week, at which point all users will receive upgrade notices from Firefox.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We've Launched our Business Model with SearchBoost

SearchBoost

Today's a big day at Xmarks. We've launched a new service for search marketers called SearchBoost, designed to increase the performance of paid search ads by displaying relevant Xmarks ratings and reviews next to sponsored links on Google and Bing search result pages. SearchBoost is a premium service with pricing starting at $29 per month.

SearchBoost is the primary business model for Xmarks, allowing us to keep our browser synchronization service completely free. While we obviously devote resources to this business, we've also recently launched Xmarks for Chrome and a new Tab Sync feature for Firefox. You can count on us to continue innovating and improving our sync products.

SearchBoost is also a natural extension of our vision for Smarter Search: displaying crowd-sourced ratings and reviews to help users identify the highest quality results on their search page. A small but vocal minority have told us (and may tell us again on this blog ;-) that they're not interested in this feature. That's OK with us: we've made it very simple to turn the Smarter Search feature off in Xmarks Settings. Many other users have sent us kudos for this important enhancement to web search.

We hope you'll find ratings and reviews on ads as useful as they are on organic search results. It's important to note that Xmarks ratings and reviews are completely crowd-sourced from our users. Advertisers cannot pay $ to improve ratings or alter reviews.

Finally, quick shout-outs to our chairman & co-founder Mitch Kapor who has kept us focused on his orginal vision of aggregating bookmarks to improve web search, and Xmarks advisor Eric Ries who helped us think through the early concept stage of what is now SearchBoost.

Tab Sync in Xmarks for Firefox!

We're excited today to announce support for a top user-requested feature: open tab sync in Xmarks for Firefox. We're launching this as an opt-in feature that you can easily activate in the Xmarks Settings dialog. Just go to Tools → Xmarks → Settings → Sync and check to enable sync of Open Tabs. The feature will soon be available in My.Xmarks.com and in Xmarks for Chrome, too. Here's how you turn it on:
tab_settings

Of what use is this, you ask? Imagine that you are working on an important research project at the office. You have to leave in the midst of your work to catch your helicopter ride home to your personal tropical island (if we're going to imagine, we might as well go big, right?). When you arrive home, you open up your limited-edition diamond-encrusted laptop, and in a few clicks, you've opened all the web pages that you had open at work. So you can continue your research into a cure for cancer until the wee hours of the morning.

How does it work? Just like bookmark and password sync, Xmarks watches for changes to your set of open windows and tabs, and when it notices a quiet moment, it sends that set to our server, which stores it in your password-protected account. Once you enable the feature, this happens silently in the background.

Whenever you need to retrieve a tab from another computer, just select “Open Remote Tabs” on the Xmarks menu (right-click on the status bar icon or Tools → Xmarks → Settings):
xmarks_settings_menu



A window opens showing your list of computers, browsers, and their open windows and tabs:

open_tabs

Click a single tab to open it locally, or click a browser window to open that entire window (along with all of its tabs). Easy!

The full diamond-encrusted version is now available for download on the Mozilla Add-ons Site and Xmarks.com. Please enjoy!

What do you think? We'd love to hear your comments and feedback.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Xmarks Thumbnails For IE

Xmarks Thumbnails for IE A little over three months ago Google announced beta support for extensions in the Google Chrome browser. One of our engineers Will decided it was time to try making an extension for Chrome and looked for a fun project to start with. He took our website preview image data and created a simple but powerful extension that adds preview images to your Google and Bing search results.

We thought it was pretty cool, but weren't sure how many of our users would find it useful. The answer, it turns out, is quite a few! After three months we have over 26,000 users of our Chrome extension Xmarks Thumbnails.

It's been so successful that we've decided to create an extension for Internet Explorer, as well. Our new extension, Xmarks Thumbnails for IE, is available for download today! Give it a try and let us know what you think. Feedback is welcome at our support page.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crowd-sourced Bookmarks Warn of Alien Invasion

[caption id="attachment_1507" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid"]Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid[/caption]

Here at Xmarks we are true believers in "the wisdom of crowds". Our servers analyze the 1.5 million new bookmarks that arrive each day and algorithmically generate a list of the most popular topics bookmarked by our users. We can trust no one bookmark to foreshadow a trend. Instead we aggregate millions of bookmarks into a Syndicate in order to uncover a glimpse of the future.

It gave us great pause to see what emerged on our home page today as the day's most bookmarked topics:

xmarks_homepage_040110

Is this just a strange coincidence? Something more ominous and disturbing? We felt we had the responsibility to open up our Xmarks Files and put the truth out there to share with you.

If you think this is cause for alarm, be sure to consult our topic page on Survival for great preparedness resources.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Xmarks Helps Recover Stolen Laptop

laptop_recoveryAn Xmarks user in the United Kingdom shared a fascinating customer story with us. The story begins with an unfortunate home break-in where one of the stolen items includes a laptop. This user performed an impressive bit of technical analysis, including a supporting role played by Xmarks (BYOS version), that led to the tracking and recovery of the laptop. You can read all the geeky details here!

Just another day in the life of the Xmarks laptop recovery, I mean bookmark sync service. ;-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Xmarks v3.5 for Firefox Coming Soon

Here's a sneak preview of two feature enhancements coming soon to the Firefox version of Xmarks Sync.

1. Smarter Search Gets a Lot Smarter

stars_stripes

We first launched our Smarter Search feature back in April 2009 – automatically placing an info icon next to the three most-bookmarked sites on your Google search results page. We're proud to announce a new and improved Smarter Search, which we affectionately call "stars and stripes". Smarter Search now displays more useful information about the websites on your Google page:




  • "stars" show you the average rating for a site across the entire Xmarks user community.

  • "stripes" tell you how a site ranks within its most popular topic, based on the one billion bookmarks managed by Xmarks.


We've been testing this new feature with over 200,000 Xmarks users and so far the feedback has been very positive. But if you'd like to turn the feature off, it's easy. Just un-check "Enable Smarter Search" in the Discovery Pane of your Xmarks Settings dialog:

smartersearch_options

Combined with new ways for you to create your own site reviews, we’re excited about our new approach to web search. It will bring people-powered web site ratings and reviews directly to you, helping you search safer and smarter.

Try it out and tell us what you think! We'd love to hear your feedback.

2. New Ways to Review Sites, and Share Your Reviews on Facebook

Thanks to all the Xmarks users creating site ratings and reviews when you bookmark in Firefox. We’re seeing lots of reviews pour in, and that’s helping every Xmarks user get people-powered site reviews every time they search. In version 3.5, we’re making it even easier to create a site review simply by clicking on a row of stars in the bottom right corner of your browser:

review_stars

Once you click on a star rating, you'll have the option to write a brief review and share your thoughts, positive or negative, about the site you’re on. Checking the “Share this review” box will automatically post your review to your stream on Facebook. The first time you do this you’ll need to link your Facebook account with Xmarks – after that you can share in just one click.

share_reviews

Just like Smarter Search, we’ve made it straightforward to disable this feature. Simply right-click and uncheck "Show Status Bar Stars" in the menu.
disable-site-ratings

We hope you’ll give this a try and rate some of your favorite sites – you’ll help millions of other Xmarks users discover the best sites on the Web.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Experimental Feature: Search Within Bookmark Folders

One of the things we're working on here at Xmarks is an easy way to search across all the sites within a folder of bookmarks. Our first step is an experimental feature we've added to shared folders - folders of bookmarks that have been explicitly made public via my.xmarks.com.

Starting today, you can use Google to search the sites you've bookmarked using the search box on each shared folder page. The search box appears automatically for any Xmarks shared folders. Here's an example of a shared folder of sites about Movies:

Shared Folder Search

Searching within this folder delivers Google results *only* from the web sites bookmarked in that folder. Here's an example search within the Movie folder:

Movie Search Results

You can try this with one of your own bookmark folders by turning on sharing at my.xmarks.com. Just log in with your Xmarks account, click on the folder you want to share, and click the "Share" button in the toolbar. This will give you a URL for a searchable web page for that shared folder, like this:

Folder Sharing

We think this adds a whole new dimension to bookmarks and creates some interesting new uses for bookmark folders. Where do we go from here? Should this search feature be part of your bookmark folders within the browser?

You can help by trying out bookmark folder search and answering this quick three question survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VN8QSS8

Thanks!
James

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Xmarks 3.4.10 and 3.4.11 for Firefox released

We've been getting reports of some duplicates and bookmarks moving between folders over the last few months.  We've been actively trying to track down this bug, but it's been sufficiently rare that we've been unable to catch the problem in users' log files, and we've never had any success reproducing the problem in-house.  That is, until late last week, when we finally tracked it down!  Needless to say, it's a lot easier to find and fix something when you can make the error happen in the first place.  So after some swift QA, we're releasing this version today (3.4.10 on Mozilla's Add-On site, and 3.4.11 on the Xmarks site) that contains the fix. (Only Firefox users are affected, so no need to worry if you are a Safari, IE, or Chrome user.)

A big THANK YOU to all of you who experienced the problem and were willing to work with us to get to the bottom of it!  You've been very gracious and patient, and we are grateful for your support and effort.

We're also working on a major release that should be coming up in the next few weeks, but we didn't want to wait to get this important fix out.  So hopefully you'll forgive the frequent updates when the next one comes out soon!