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Google Releases Google Browser Sync Extension 389

Pneuma ROCKS writes "Google has just released the Google Browser Sync extension for Firefox. This extension allows you to save your bookmarks, history and passwords on Google servers, effectively giving you a 'roaming profile,' which you can sync on any computer running Firefox (and the extension, of course)."
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Google Releases Google Browser Sync Extension

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  • Encrypted? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Buran ( 150348 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:26PM (#15499594)
    This says nothing about whether the data is encrypted in transit or, more importantly, on the servers. I don't like the idea of Google or anyone who might hack in snooping on this data.
    • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:28PM (#15499613)
      Well if you already use GMail, what's a little more personal information? Of course Google can index it and add it to the increasingly large profile of you.
      • Well if you already use GMail, what's a little more personal information?

        It depends on how much of correct data you provided when you signed up.

        • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:27PM (#15499876)
          "It depends on how much of correct data you provided when you signed up."

          I don't think it's as simple as that. If you're using GMail, you're likely logged in to Google every time you do a search. Do a bunch of porn viewing, and Google has the means to link that to your login. Take it a step further and keep your bookmarks there.. well... they certainly have more to draw on.

          Personally, I'm not so worried about what Google sees. I'm worried about the recent moves by the gov't to collect that info. Google is unintentionally setting up a nice little trap for a bunch of people. (No, this isn't a Google is evil statement, just pointing out the dangers of centralizing all this stuff.)
          • Re:Encrypted? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tftp ( 111690 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:35PM (#15499912) Homepage
            If you're using GMail, you're likely logged in to Google every time you do a search.

            Why should I do that? No, of course I don't stay logged in any more than it is necessary.

            Google is unintentionally setting up a nice little trap for a bunch of people.

            I don't believe that founders and managers of a multi-billion dollar enterprise are so dumb that they don't realize what they are doing. I am convinced that they are perfectly aware of all the implications - they know them better than we do, it's their business after all. Also, the government is not silent on the matter - it approached Google already, so claiming innocence won't work. Google knows damn well what it is doing, and that is to become the ultimate data warehouse for, and about, everyone on the planet. And all that data will be for sale.

            • Re:Encrypted? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @12:51AM (#15500184)
              "I don't believe that founders and managers of a multi-billion dollar enterprise are so dumb that they don't realize what they are doing."

              I was not trying to imply that. They obviously feel very comfortable with what they're doing, but that alone will not protect their users. In theory, the gov't shouldn't have even asked them for the records, yet it still happened. Worse, we've got a monkey in the white-house that may bend the rules a bit to try even harder. Now maybe my imagination's getting ahead of me, but just because they think they know what they're doing doesn't mean anybody's safe. Once you've commited the data to Google, that's it, you cannot undo it.
              • In theory, the gov't shouldn't have even asked them for the records, yet it still happened. Worse, we've got a monkey in the white-house that may bend the rules a bit to try even harder.
                The problem here is not with Google. Its with an out-of-control government and and apathetic public that fails to reign in the government. Google allowing users to store data or not allowing users to store data makes little difference in that.
            • Re:Encrypted? (Score:3, Insightful)

              by blirp ( 147278 )
              > If you're using GMail, you're likely logged in to Google every time you do a search.

              Why should I do that? No, of course I don't stay logged in any more than it is necessary.

              Unless you make sure to clear all Google-cookies after logging
              out and before logging back in GMail, it won't really matter
              if you're logged in at the time you're searching or not.

              M.
        • It depends on how much of correct data you provided when you signed up.

          And of course you never have your friends send you *real* email nor mention any personal information, right? Your Gmail account is just for spam collection?
           
    • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Informative)

      by zburner07 ( 955445 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:30PM (#15499623)
      Actually it tells you right here [google.com] in the FAQ.
    • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:31PM (#15499631)
      Actually, it does say it will be encrypted:

      http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/browsersync/fa q.html#q9 [google.com]
      Why do I need to provide a PIN?

      The PIN you create during setup is used to encrypt information that's synced between your computers, which may include sensitive information such as your passwords for websites. We use your PIN to unlock that information. Without your PIN, no one will be able to read the information that's being transmitted between your computers via Google Browser Sync.
      • Re:Encrypted? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Actually, it does say it will be encrypted:

        Its not really clear about how much of your information is encryped. Your passwords yes, but your browsing history? Your bookmarks?

        I would expect google to want to datamine both of those things, but I would not feel comfortable giving it to them in a form that they could use because it means that someone else, like our friendly NSA for example, could use it too.

        With that in mind - does anyone know of an extention that does the same sort of sync, but encrypts ever
        • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dan Berlin ( 682091 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:34PM (#15499906)
          If you look at the extension, you will see you can choose to encrypt any/all of what it can sync.
        • Re:Encrypted? (Score:3, Informative)

          by elyk ( 970302 )
          Try Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer [mozilla.org]. At first it appears to only work with their servers, but if you look at the advanced settings it allows you to specify your own ftp server. I'm not sure if it encrypts it, but you could get a reasonable level of security by storing it in a non-web-accesible ftp folder, and there might be a setting to use secure ftp or https; I forget (I uninstalled it because I realized I didn't really need it).
        • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Informative)

          by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:15AM (#15500541) Homepage
          Its not really clear about how much of your information is encryped. Your passwords yes, but your browsing history? Your bookmarks?

          I've just downloaded and installed it. It automatically encrypts your cookies and passwords (it doesn't let you change this setting), and gives you the option of encrypting history, bookmarks, and tabs and windows if you choose to synchronize them. Additionally, it's all optional.

          And if you were really security-conscious, you could tell it to not synchronize anything at all.

          Assuming it keeps working (it has so far), I really like it. It makes keeping bookmarks actually worthwhile.
      • Re:Encrypted? (Score:3, Informative)

        by aussie_a ( 778472 )
        Do they store the PIN on their systems? Of course they do. Therefore they can unencrypt your info any time they want.
        • Re:Encrypted? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by azuretek ( 708981 )
          I'm pretty sure from what I read of their FAQ that the encryption/decryption is all client side. I wouldn't imagine they keep the PIN on their server.

          I haven't looked at the actual firefox extension but it wouldn't make sense to offer encryption and still store the PIN.
          • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:31AM (#15500434)
            I haven't looked at the actual firefox extension but it wouldn't make sense to offer encryption and still store the PIN.

            It would if the point of encryption is to keep it private *in-transit*. Just as HTTPS doesn't prevent the site you are interacting with to get all that data you submitted, the encryption prevents bystanders from seeing it.

            So all this encryption does is give you some security that nobody but google will be able to see it. So if you value your privacy at all the question remains, do you trust google with it? Do you trust google to look out for your interests, even under government pressure?

            Just for Now? or Always and Forever?

            I'm with that other individual: Is there any extension that does this with an ftp/webdav/... server of *my* choice?
        • Re:Encrypted? (Score:3, Informative)

          From the FAQ (emphasis added by me):

          What's the point of encrypting my information?

          By encrypting your information, it will be transmitted to and stored on Google's servers in a format that is nearly impossible to interpret without the PIN. That means that without the PIN, no one, not even Google, will be able to read your data
    • Re:Encrypted? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Xhris ( 97992 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:39PM (#15499669)
      Really why woud you care? If your keeping sensitive information in your bookmarks list then your a fool. Personally I have been copying my bookmarks.html to ~/publcic_html for years. Its very handy when using someone elses computer and trying to remeber a URL. (Actually it was more useful in the pre-google days. These days I mostly find the URL via goodle anyhow).
    • by spir0 ( 319821 )
      GMail (including GMail for hosted domains) is not encrypted. Logins are, but once you're in it's not. How many emails do you receive that contain passwords to sites you registered with? Every time you open one of those messages, the data has the potential to be sniffed.

      I don't believe this is any worse than that.

      You can't hide in the shadows your whole life. You've gotta come out of your closet and let someone sniff you once in a while. It's very liberating.

      Honest.
      • Re:Encrypted? (Score:2, Informative)

        by tmjr3353 ( 925558 )
        Actually, I'm pretty sure there's both an encrypted an unecrypted version. Once actually inside G-Mail both https:/// [https] and http:/// [http] will work -- and there is a difference; when they first released the messaging inside the webmail page it only worked in the unsecure page.
    • kool!, now they can profit on the all the p0rn I see.
  • Google's brand, I think, is being devalue with their main revenue stream being advertisement.

    You know that all that information about bookmarks and favourites will be of use to marketers.

    From my part, for now, I will pass...
    • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:38PM (#15499667) Homepage Journal
      Google can already follow you around the 'net using their ad network. Blogs, photos, news sites, etc., all have Google Adsense. That same cookie builds up a wealth of data about you. If this offends you, putting your bookmarks up on Google shouldn't be any worse -- what could you possibly be telling them that they don't already know?

      (Besides your passwords to other sites...)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:44PM (#15499689)
      it beats the penis enlargement ads, now google will allready know I have a large member & don't need such herbal enhancements
    • Yes, because as everyone knows, businesses being able to more effectively communicate and accurately target the right customers is the worst thing that can happen.

      Really, marketing is not a dirty word...

      -- John.

      • by NoMaster ( 142776 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:08AM (#15500245) Homepage Journal
        Yes, because as everyone knows, businesses being able to more effectively communicate and accurately target the right customers is the worst thing that can happen.
        It's a bit hard to explain without rising to hyperbole - but imagine if we'd all been happily using riaasearch.com for the last few years. Everyone has riaasearch textads all over their blogs, torrent sites ask you to click one before entering, and every second person has a riaasearch toolbar in their browser.

        Now, imagine if riaasearch turned evil...

        Really, marketing is not a dirty word...
        You're right. It's not a dirty word; it's a weasel word...

        Like those cat parasite things; Toxoplasma [boingboing.net]. Supposedly makes some people feel good, more outgoing and warmhearted. But a parasite is still a parasite...

    • You know that all that information about bookmarks and favourites will be of use to marketers.

      From TFFAQ [google.com] "That means that without the PIN, no one, not even Google, will be able to read your data"

      In other words, no Google won't use your "bookmarks *and* favourites" (that's the same thing IIRC) for marketing since they won't be able to read them.

  • History? (Score:2, Funny)

    by sugapablo ( 600023 )
    Great, now not only can Google know how many times I search for "MILF", but they can see all the pr0n sites I visit too. They're worse than the NSA. :)
    • Which I actually did. Currently, I'm storing cookies, passwords, bookmarks and "tabs and windows saving". Bookmarks save works great time, solving conflicts in an elegant fashion: I installed it first at my work's PC (fewer bookmarks) and then at home. I was afraid it would mangle my home collection, but fortunately it merged then folder-by-folder and inside folders. Tabs and windows saving are great too (and yes, I know Opera had this since day zero): it asks you which tabs you want to reload (which is con
    • The data is encrypted before being sent to Google.

      Although if you read the FAQ, you'd know this already.
    • pr0n: it's what Opera is for.
  • Google making firefox extensions? Maybe I'm retarded, but this is the first I've seen.

    Anyways, this seems like a good idea, especially people who have several homes or places they browse the net. Also a good way to backup my favorites. Any clue how much slower this'll make Firefox?

  • Pr0n (Score:5, Funny)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:28PM (#15499611) Homepage Journal
    Wait, I don't want all my bookmarks from home in my work browser!

    -Peter
    • hear hear! one of my co-workers had the yahoo equivelent of this. One day when on their computer, they tried to play off like someone else put them there, but they didn't know how to get them out...

      Seriously... some data should just stay at home.
    • Re:Pr0n (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zathrus ( 232140 )

      Wait, I don't want all my bookmarks from home in my work browser!

      And I don't want all of my work bookmarks in my home browser. I have a number of work-related bookmarks that point to local files (such as Oracle docs) and to places on the corporate intranet. Both are useless to me from home (the intranet ones may be useful if I was VPN'd, but that's exceptionally rare).

      I would love to find a bookmarks synchronizer that allows you to exclude bookmarks and still work through the regular bookmarks menu.

      Ultimate

  • Spiffy (Score:3, Funny)

    by Fo0dNippl3 ( 923930 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:29PM (#15499615) Homepage
    So does that mean we can finally use our Google(TM) Browser Sync to save our settings on Google(TM) Search and Google(TM) Mail anywhere on the Google(TM) Earth?
  • BookmarkRank? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:30PM (#15499625) Journal
    BookmarkRank to augment PageRank?

    Hmmm.....
  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:30PM (#15499627)

    Google has just released the Google Browser Sync extension for Firefox. This extension allows you to save your bookmarks, history and passwords on Google servers, effectively giving you a 'roaming profile,' which you can sync on any computer running Firefox (and the extension, of course).

    For those who are loathe to continue shovelling their personal info at Google ...

    scp ~/.firefox/default/<random_letters>/bookmarks.html my_web_host:~/public_html/

    Then, from any computer:

    wget -O ~/.firefox/default/<random_letters>/bookmarks.html http://mywebhost/bookmarks.html

    If the system you are on doesn't have wget, you can just visit the URL and use the links in the browser or save the file to your profile on the machine. If you don't want it so easily accessible on the 'net, then you can use a different file name or put it in some randomly named directory.

  • Too Late (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:32PM (#15499635) Homepage Journal
    Nice idea, but too late. I keep all my bookmarks on del.icio.us [del.icio.us] now. It would be nice if they offered a better way to make off-line backups, though.
  • saved passwords (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Awol411 ( 799294 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:32PM (#15499637)
    it seems a lot like del.ici.ou.us for the bookmarking, but sorry google, i love you, but you're not going to be getting my passwords for anything besides my google account
  • Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ajehals ( 947354 ) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:33PM (#15499640) Homepage Journal
    If you trust Google then this could be great! if you don't then feel free to bash this as a blatant grab for yet more personal data.

    Either way you cant say Google aren't pushing to see what users want, and integrating it into whats good for Google. My opinion? I don't know, I like and trust goggle as much as I trust any corporation, but do I want them to have yet more information about me? Probably not. So personally I will give it a miss, although it might be useful in the future, and if it takes off in internet kiosks (and why not) then all the better. It has some serious benefit to people who travel regularly and don't own laptops and PDA's.

    Cue the "tin foil hat" posts, closely followed by the "there is no privacy anyway" posts possibly followed by some random "I don't like the new layout" posts.
    • I like and trust goggle as much as I trust any corporation, but do I want them to have yet more information about me? Probably not. So personally I will give it a miss,

      Cue the "tin foil hat" posts, closely followed by the "there is no privacy anyway" posts possibly followed by some random "I don't like the new layout" posts.

      You forgot to cue the "the data's encrypted" posts. So you don't need to worry about handing over any more personal information.

      • Re:Trust (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ajehals ( 947354 )
        I'm not so confident - again I trust Google however they do appear to have left themselves with some room for maneuver. I would simply ask whether you would be as confident if Google were taken over by a less scrupilous competitor in 3 months time. - If you read the associated T&C's you will find:
        --
        3. GOOGLE PRIVACY POLICY
        For information about our data protection practices and the data that may be available to Google when you use the Firefox Extensions, please see the Google Privacy Policy at http://w [google.com]
  • Spyware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smokeslikeapoet ( 598750 ) <wfpearson@gmail. c o m> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:35PM (#15499647) Homepage Journal
    The difference between Google and most big spyware companies is that the Spyware makers promise a valuable service, while Google delivers unobtrusively

    I have no problem answering surveys for those mall clipboard guys as long as I'm not in a hurry. I have no problem allowing Google tracking my web habits, as long as I'm getting something valuable, Gmail, Maps, Earth, Search, et. al. in return. When I quit finding their apps useful, I'll rescind my offer to be profiled.
  • by BrianWCarver ( 569070 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:36PM (#15499649) Homepage
    For those who are worried about giving their browsing history and passwords to Google (or anyone for that matter), you can still reap the benefits of synchronized bookmarks with another Firefox extension: Foxmarks [mozilla.org].

    Foxmarks is basically the same thing, but just for bookmarks (and not on Google's servers). It's great for keeping bookmarks across multiple machines, and also really useful for those who dual (or triple) boot a single machine. My triple-boot MacBook [sharealike.org] keeps all its bookmarks in sync with Foxmarks!
    • For those who are worried about giving their browsing history and passwords to Google (or anyone for that matter), you can still reap the benefits of synchronized bookmarks with another Firefox extension: Foxmarks.
      Does Foxmarks encrypt the data? If they don't you might feel more secure with Google (or you could run your own Foxmarks server).
    • I've been using Microsoft's foldershare to sync several folders I use for schoolwork between my laptop and desktop. I realized a couple of months ago that I could use it to sync my bookmarks by sharing the folder with bookmarks.html - works flawlessly. It doesn't store the file on any servers (because my desktop and laptop are acting as servers) and it encrypts all files going in and out.

      I know this may not work for some because it doesn't sync when either computer if offline, because it is a bit heavier th
    • For those who are worried about giving their browsing history and passwords to Google (or anyone for that matter), you can still reap the benefits of synchronized bookmarks with another Firefox extension: Foxmarks [mozilla.org].

      Hah. I dropped by Mozilla Add-ons [mozilla.org] just now and guess what extension is being featured at the moment. Foxmarks.

  • I do store localy *some* passwords on my Linux's Firefox, but when I'm not home I don't even login to some websites just cos I don't trust all the software instaled on that machine (including the OS).
    How can this extension protect in any way some personal data on forign computers from spywares and viruses? (not to mention they will be on an internet server somewhere)
    Maybe I'll use it for the bookmarks, after all it might be very handy ;)
  • PageRank? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:39PM (#15499670) Journal
    I can see how they might be interested in the bookmarks and browser history information. This could help augment the PageRank algorithm to possibly cut down on all the scammers trying to increase their PageRank by google-bombing. If they can collect data on what sites people actually visit, based on their own browsers, this would be very useful. Of course, the NSA might want this information, too,... ;-)

  • Google seem to be falling behind the curve when it comes to releasing new products. From a position a few years (months ??) ago when they rolled out GMail and google maps, it now seems that they are just reimplementing what others have already done. For example GCalendar is equivilent to Yahoo Calendar and this new extension is very like del.icio.us with the social part discarded. I like using Google and the majority of their offerings are good but there seems to be a "me too' approach to some of the latest
  • by smokeslikeapoet ( 598750 ) <wfpearson@gmail. c o m> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:44PM (#15499690) Homepage Journal
    By installing the extension you take an anti-piracy pledge:
    * defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others;
    * upload, post, email or transmit or otherwise make available any inappropriate, defamatory, infringing, obscene, or unlawful Content;
    * upload, post, email or transmit or otherwise make available any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret or other proprietary right of any party, unless you are the owner of the Rights or have the permission of the owner to post such Content;
    * upload, post, email or transmit or otherwise make available messages that promote pyramid schemes, chain letters or disruptive commercial messages or advertisements, or anything else prohibited by law, these Terms of Service or any applicable policies or guidelines.
    * download any file posted by another that you know, or reasonably should know, cannot be legally distributed in such manner;
    * impersonate another person or entity, or falsify or delete any author attributions, legal or other proper notices or proprietary designations or labels of the origin or source of software or other material;
    * restrict or inhibit any other user from using and enjoying Google services;
    * use the Extensions for any illegal or unauthorized purpose;
    * remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices contained in or on the Extensions or any Google services;
    * interfere with or disrupt the Extensions or other Google services or servers or networks connected to Google services, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to Google services;
    * submit Content that falsely expresses or implies that such Content is sponsored or endorsed by Google;
    * promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities or promote physical harm or injury against any group or individual; or
    * transmit any viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, or any items of a destructive nature.
    Wow, this should make the world a safer place. I guess I can sleep soundly tonight. How the hell are they going to enforce this?
    • In a word, they won't. The data's encrypted, so there is literally no way they can enforce it.

      The 'pledge' is basically legal protection, so that if someone did use the extension to do whatever bad things, (and really, most of them seem pretty impossible to use the extension to do) Google will not themselves be blamed. Realistically, this sort of measure probably won't get them very far in a real court case, but hey, every little helps.
  • by greenguy ( 162630 ) <estebandido.gmail@com> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:44PM (#15499691) Homepage Journal
    Google is the only search engine I've used in the past, what, four or five years now, and I have a Gmail account that I check constantly. I use the translator to give me ahead start on my translating work. I know about the calculator feature. I use Google Maps all the time. I've checked the spreadsheet out and look forward to GoogleWritely. I look for jobs on Base (anyone need a bilingual CSS coder?). I use the personalized homepage to keep track of the three blogs I run and the 762 that I read every day. I'd use the Page Creator if I wasn't pretty good with Drupal. I've followed the Web Clip links and even a few GoogleAdWords links. At any given time, I have between three and seven tabs open to Google services.

    I have just one question. When is it too much of a good thing, privacy or no privacy?
  • by Craig Ringer ( 302899 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:52PM (#15499733) Homepage Journal
    I've long wished that Firefox would support LDAP+TLS or WebDAV+TLS (with client certificates) for storing at least bookmarks, if not history. It's amusing that Google seems to have done it for them - the downside being that I can't use my own servers, I have to use Google. I'll still bite.

    To be honest, though, what'd be REALLY exciting would be a similar tool for Thunderbird that enabled a secure writeable server side (pref. LDAP) address book, not just the limited read-only LDAP address book support it currently has. If their calendar app added WebDAV+TLS or HTTPs WebDAV remote calendar storage, it'd start to feel like an app made for people who (*gasp*) use more than one computer.

    Maybe Google's move here will show the mozilla folks that people are interested in these features.
  • Buggy! (Score:3, Informative)

    by XBL ( 305578 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:03PM (#15499785)
    I tried it on my Windows PC (Firefox 1.5). All of a sudden the menus and URL bar would not work properly. I type in a URL and it takes me to my homepage... I wanted to synch with my Mac mini, and now that machine is locked up where I can't hardly use the mouse, and I can't even close down Firefox! Very weird stuff.

    Finally it would not synch anything for me. It kept giving me different errors related to how I have too much data, or to "try again later". Maybe their servers are being hit hard now.

    I am uninstalling this stuff, maybe some time in the future I will reinstall when they have fixed the problems...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google says you can encrypt your data with an 8 character password so that "not even Google" can see it [1].

    Quick math. 26 lower case letters + 26 upper case + 10 numeric characters. (should cover most users)
    62^8 possibilities. Google probably has about 100,000 servers [2], so that's about 2 billion combinations per server [3] - chump change.

    AYPABTG.

    8 character passwords work because servers can throttle bogus logins - few seconds delay after 3 failed attempts for example. There's very little security again
  • What's all this excitement about? There are already about half a dozen different Firefox extensions in existence that allows you to sync bookmarks. If you ask me I'd tell you to go check out the bookmarks extensions [mozilla.org]
  • If you want to roll your own solution try SiteBar (http://sitebar.org), the SiteBar XBELSync plugin and the bookmark sync extension.
  • by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:29PM (#15499891)
    Seen on CNNNN

    Today the NSA filed a anti trust suite againt Google inc
    When a legal representative of the NSA was questioned about the case he replied, "Our case is based on Googles practice of gathering data in direct competition to the NSA, in such a manner that it's impossible for us to compete".

    Our reporter was suddenly arrested before he could question Google on the matter, based on child sex porn bookmarks handed over to legal authorities by google.
  • I'm not some paranoid freak but sorry Google, no dice. Google already have a truck load of info on more or less everyone, now I'm not saying that's a bad thing today. But sooner or later the Google guys are going to want to do new things or they're going to sell out for money. Then all this stuff will go into the highest bidders hands, now to me that means the guy who wants the data the most.. Which I'm positive is the guy I least want to have it.

    So thanks for the offer Google, but no. You don't need to kno
  • by Dan Berlin ( 682091 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:39PM (#15499930)
    If you look at the settings, next to every checkbox for "sync this", there is another check box for "encrypt this".
    Literally everything it can sync can be encrypted.

    Second, it syncs much more than bookmarks.
    I for one, enjoy having my history, tabs, and windows saved between the laptop and desktops I work on.
  • Hopefully the extension encrypts the passwords block with a master key and prompts the user for it when saving/restoring. I don't care if they use by history to do marketing metrics or whatever but there's no way in hell I'm going to give them my passwords. Even if they are just "weak" ones.
  • Seriously, though, this is a good feature.. so long as there's strong encryption on all of it.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:55PM (#15499990) Journal
    "What does it mean when I see a warning message that tells me "you logged in on a different machine"?
    Currently, Google Browser Sync only allows you to be logged in to one browser at a time"

    The people would mostly likely use this proably have Firefox on 2 to 3 machines and it is certainly not uncommon to A) leave your computer running with a browser window open and then get on another machine running firefox B) be on firefox on say a laptop while your wife/girlfriend etc is on your main machine(and no they shouldn't all have to have seperate accounts).

    I see they are "working" on having multiple accounts but personally this simply won't work for me and many others until then. On the positive side it's nice to have Google developing for Firefox and if the encryption is sound this sounds like a nice feature that maybe one day will become standard on Firefox.
  • Given that the gov't wants all information about what people search for, this calls into question the No Evil theme Google protrays? You know the gov't will be asking (see demanding) for this information.
  • ...But with a 4 digit pin, it's trivial to break. Go ahead and combine that with Google's server farm.

    Not like I care, though. I'm using it right now; I've been looking for something like this for a long time now.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:05AM (#15500235)
    ... and on to an actual comment about the extension itself.

    On my Mac, this extension was rather problematic. It installed just fine, and syncs with Firefox on my Linux box just fine. But when I launch subsequent sessions of Firefox on my Mac, I get one window telling me it's connecting to the Google server - and it overlays (and 95% of the time prevents interaction with) the window that pops up asking for my master password (for FF's saved passwords feature). Can't type my master password, can't get past this point.

    In order to actually run Firefox again, I had to manually remove the extension from my profile.

    I'm used to Google's "betas" working quite smoothly - it's unusual to run into one with a big old flaw like this one.
  • by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <rrw@hell.pl> on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:51AM (#15500628) Journal
    Great tool. Doesn't work for me at all.

    When I start it with default config after some thinking it tells me upload too large. try disabling some components and trying again. When I uncheck all the options (i.e. don't save anything) after some thinking it tells me settings change did not complete. please try again later.

    As I said, great tool. Doesn't work.

    Robert
  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:54AM (#15500637)
    Google doesn't do anything if it doesn't benefit Google. They in fact will gain access to everyone's bookmarks. That is one of the most valuable pieces of information they can get, because now they can do very focused, targeting advertising. Also, they will get another way "to pagerank" web pages. If a million people bookmarked Slashdot, SourceForge and PizzaHut, they'll have a good reason to increase the rank of those sites. It seems like a win-win situation to me and smart move on the part of Google.

  • by Civil_Disobedient ( 261825 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:08PM (#15503484)
    I'm glad Google has come to the rescue of such a serious oversight on Mozilla's part. They could solve all these portability problems if they just implemented a light database backend to store your data; instead you've got:
    1. HTML files (bookmarks)
    2. DB files (client certs)
    3. CHROME files (browser prefs)
    4. TXT files (signons, cookies)
    5. DAT files (forms)
    6. RDF files (download manager)
    7. INI files (extensions)
    8. XML files (roaming profiles)
    9. JS files (user prefs)
    10. et-fucking-cetera

    THANK YOU GOOGLE for sorting all this shit out. Too bad it took an "evil-but-not-really" third party to figure out what the end-users have been clamoring on about for years.

    And yes, I'm aware that the new, improved Mozilla will implement SQLite [wikipedia.org]. Eventually, when it's released, probably, they think.

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