Sunday, June 20, 2010

Google Chrome Gets Extension Sync

The developer's version of the Google Chrome Web browser was updated this week to include the ability to sync your extensions. The new feature joins Chrome's other sync options, in place for some time (Bookmarks, Preferences and Themes), to more fully round out the browser's synchronization platform.

How to Enable Sync

To enable extension sync in Chrome, you'll first need to install the current developer's build. Once installed, you'll then need to edit the Chrome shortcut's properties.

In Windows, you right-click on the shortcut, choose "Properties," and in the "Target" box, add -enable-sync-extenstions at the end of the command, to the right of the quotes. (Update: see the comments section for a tip on implementing this feature without the reported bugs).

Mac OS X users will need to use Terminal or this handy script that does the work for you (Pointed out to us courtesy of LifeHacker.)

Sync: For a Browser that Knows You

The great thing about Chrome's synchronization options is how it allows you to create a standardized experience no matter what computer you're using. Whether on the netbook in the living room, the desktop in the den or your notebook at the office, you can install Chrome and immediately have it set up with your personal preferences.

For this former Firefox user, the addition of extension sync has been one of the more highly anticipated options, second only to bookmark sync. There was a time - not too long ago, mind you - when you had to make manual lists of your installed extensions or use some sort of third-party add-on to back them up every time Firefox released a new version. And believe me, that process was not as simple as it sounds.

With Chrome, though, the transition from version to version is seamless. There's no backup needed. Forget iterative Web apps, Chrome is the iterative Web browser.

Although the current version of extension sync is still in testing - and apparently a bit crash-prone reports CNET - it's only a matter of time before the feature is stabilized and ported to the beta channel, followed by the public release.

As for what's next for Chrome sync, could it be the ability to sync browser history, searches and cookies? Passwords? Auto-complete settings? We would imagine that it's all of the above...maybe not soon but definitely not never.