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20 Things I Learned About Browsers And The Web [Thing 10]

29 May

SYNCHRONIZING THE BROWSER

or, why it’s ok for a truck to crush your laptop, part II

So you’re living in “the cloud”: congratulations! You use web apps for email, music, and almost everything. You save critical documents, photos, and files online where you can reach them from any Internet-connected computer, anywhere in the world.

If an 18-wheel truck comes roaring down the road and crushes your laptop to bits, all is not lost. You just find another Internet-connected device and get back to working with all that vital information you so smartly saved online.

But wait: What about all the bookmarks, browser extensions, and browser preferences that you use daily? Did they get crunched into oblivion along with your laptop?

The answer used to be “yes.” You’d have to forage for your favorite extensions all over again and gather all the websites you had painstakingly bookmarked. But no more! Many of today’s browsers, such as Firefox and Chrome, have begun building in a feature known as synchronization (“sync” for short). Sync lets you save your browser settings online, in the cloud, so they aren’t lost even if your computer melts down.

Sync functionality also makes life simpler if you use multiple computers, say, a laptop at work and a family desktop at home. You don’t have to manually recreate bookmarks of your favorite websites or reconfigure the browser settings on every computer you own. Any changes you make to your sync-enabled browser on one computer will automatically appear in all other synced computers within seconds.

In Chrome, for example, sync saves all bookmarks, extensions, preferences and themes to your Google Account. Use any other Internet-connected computer, and all you need to do is fire up Chrome and log in to your Google Account through the browser’s sync feature.Voila! All your favorite browser settings are ready to use on the new machine.

Regardless of how many computers you need to juggle, as long as you have an Internet connection and a modern browser that’s synced to the cloud, you’re all set to go. Even if every one of them gets hit by the proverbial truck.

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