Multiple computers and all the bookmarks they hold can affect your time management skills and your sanity. Whether it happens one or 100 times, looking for an important bookmark in one computer only to discover you saved the location in another can make the concept of unification infinitely more appealing. Unified bookmarks make it possible to access important sites from computers -- and sometimes phones -- you use at home, at work and/or on the road, making access to information easier, faster and far less frustrating.
Unified bookmarks are a “one stop shop” for collecting and accessing favorites and important site links from Internet Explorer, Firefox and depending on the service, Google Chrome and Opera or Safari across one or more computers. While using third-party software such as Xmarks, Linkman or BookmarkSynch is the most common way to accomplish this, you can also use a feature in the Google Chrome browser called “synch.” All provide free services for unifying and accessing bookmarks on your computer. In addition, Linkman and Xmarks have additional fee-based services that expand bookmarking options.
Google Chrome sync runs from within the Chrome browser and as such, is a slightly modified version that works different from third-party options. Sync does not allow you to add bookmarks from other browsers but does allow you to save Google Chrome bookmarks to your Google account. Access and connect to bookmarked locations from any other computer after signing into your account. This is a good option if you always use the same browser -- in this case Google Chrome -- work from more than one computer.
Client-side services such as Linkman run directly from your computer. Linkman can synchronize bookmarks coming from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and/or Opera for Mac users. The free version allows you to synchronize bookmarks from one or more of these browsers on one computer while the “pro” version allows you to also install the software on a memory stick and export bookmarks to another computer. However, because you must download and install the software on each computer you use and add or update bookmarks manually, client-side software is a better choice when you use multiple browsers but need access to unified bookmarks from only a few computers, such as those you use at home and at work.
Xmarks and BookmarkSync combine server and client-side services. Consider this option if you use multiple browsers and multiple or public-access computers. Xmarks software will work to synchronize bookmarks coming from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari for Mac users. BookmarkSync, however, will only synchronize those bookmarks coming from Internet Explorer and Firefox. Both follow the same general procedure in which you create an online user account so you can access unified bookmarks from the Web, then download and install the software on each computer you use. Each time you add or modify a bookmark setting, saving it on your computer and to your online account – which in the case of Xmarks occurs automatically – allows you to access all your bookmarks no matter where you happen to be. In addition, Xmarks “premium” version allows you to access bookmarks from your mobile phone.