In my view, one of the nicest things about the Internet relates to the multitude of “free” tools and resources out there. This free stuff may not last forever (if you are old enough to remember the original Napster – and its promise of “free” music, you know what I mean). In the meantime, I will periodically post reviews about some of the free stuff that I actually use.
The first tool I want to discuss in this series is called Foxmarks, which you can find at Foxmarks.com. Foxmarks is an add-on to the popular (and free) web browser Firefox. It syncs and backs up your bookmarks and passwords across multiple computer. Here’s how it works for me:
I work on three computers regularly – my office desktop computer, a laptop that I take with me everwhere, and a home machine that I use primarily for video editing. Before Foxmarks, I had three different lists of bookmarks (favorites). If I saved a site to Favorites at home, that site would obviously not appear on my Favorites list at work unless I wrote myself a note or sent myself an email.
Foxmarks works by creating a web based “master bookmarked favorites” list. If you install the Foxmark add on to each computer and then log in to your web based account, Foxmarks sychs all of your bookmarks and each machine has an identical “Bookmarks” list of favorite sites.
You can also log in to your master list from any computer to access it, thereby making your bookmarks portable. A new feature adds password portability to the service but I have not yet activated that.
The add-on also reminds you to synch your local machine to the web based master list if you add a site to the local Favorites list of any computer that you happen to be on at that time. All in all, Foxmarks functions as an essential tool in a world where more and more people own or work on multiple computers.
Foxmarks gets my highest recommendation as an essential tool. Here is a link to the Foxmarks blog if you want to learn more about the service and about forthcoming features or if you want to post a question.
I have no idea how Foxmarks makes money, although I do note that its founder is Mitch Kapoor, who gave us Lotus 1-2-3 back in the early days of the PC. Presumably Mitch doesn’t need any angel investors.
One clue to what Foxmarks may have in mind can be found in its about us page:
We are hard at work analyzing over 300 million bookmarks managed by our systems to help users discover sites that are useful to them. By combining algorithmic search with community knowledge-sharing and the wisdom of crowds, our goal is to connect users with relevant content.
Sounds like a social networking application may be on the drawing board. Whatever they do I’ll certainly check it out as these folks have saved me hours with a must-have application.