Sync Your Bookmarks With Xmarks for Premium Customers
When it comes to saving and organizing bookmarks, the Android Web browser leaves a lot to be desired. You can't tag bookmarks or put them in folders, so after you've saved more than a handful, finding the one you want becomes a hassle. More often than not, I just give up and google the site instead of scrolling through an endless list of bookmarks. By contrast, desktop Web browsers allow you to create elaborate bookmark-folder hierarchies that save a lot of effort when you want to return to a particular Website quickly. Xmarks for Premium Customers ($12 yearly subscription or $20 yearly with LastPass Premium) allows you to bring desktop bookmarks, bookmark folders, and even open tabs over to your Android phone--and it also syncs bookmarks from your phone to your desktop.
Xmarks on the desktop is a browser plug-in; versions exist for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, and I have used it successfully with Linux, Mac, and Windows. Xmarks is also available for the iPhone and BlackBerry. You can create an account at the Xmarks Website or in the Android app; to do so, provide an e-mail address and be sure to choose a secure password you can remember, as you will need it to set up each browser you want to sync.
The Android version of Xmarks is simple to use--just log in and start syncing. In the settings (go to Menu, Settings) you can choose whether to autosync, which is recommended. You can also select a sync profile, a separate set of bookmarks (for example, you could have Home and Work profiles). If you want to create a profile, however, you have to do so on the Xmarks Website.
Another, somewhat confusingly named option in Settings is called 'Sync folder with browser'. It allows you to choose a desktop-browser folder into which you can sync your Android-browser bookmarks. For example, I created a folder called 'Mobile' in my Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar, and then selected it in the Xmarks app for the 'Sync folder with browser' function. Now my bookmarks from the Android Web browser sync into the 'Mobile' folder so that I can access them in Firefox.
It's important to understand the limitations of the Xmarks Android app. You will not see your Xmarks bookmarks and folders in the Android Web browser, because the Android Web browser doesn't support such tight integration. Rather, you must open the Xmarks app and then select a bookmark there to open it in the Android Web browser. This is, unfortunately, the way that Android works at present. Let's hope that future updates to Android will allow tighter browser integration with Xmarks and other similar third-party apps.
Xmarks has a search-as-you-type function that works very well, so you can quickly find what you want. You can also edit bookmarks to add tags, a keyword, and a description.
The Open Remote Tabs feature allows you to take tabs that were open in your desktop browser and open them in the Android browser; you must first enable this feature in the desktop-browser plug-in settings. It's a convenient way to resume reading on the go where you left off at the desktop.
It would be nice if Xmarks appeared in the Android browser's Share menu, but it doesn't. Having an Xmarks icon in the notification area, to make returning to Xmarks from the Web browser a one-click affair, would also be handy. Such enhancements would make the app easier to use.
Nevertheless, Xmarks is a useful way to sync your bookmarks among different devices. A dollar a month is a low price for such a practical service.