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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 12/ 2/2010

LastPass buys Xmarks, rescuing bookmarks-sharing app

By Rob Pegoraro

A popular bookmarks-sharing app no longer faces oblivion: Xmarks was just purchased by LastPass, a Vienna developer of a well-regarded, secure password-saving solution.

xmarks_logo.png

The two firms announced the news in a blog post on each of their sites. Neither post gave financial details about the transaction, but LastPass chief executive Joe Siegrist e-mailed that it involved an upfront payment and a commitment to devote a set share of his company's revenue to fund Xmarks for the first year.

As part of the deal, Xmarks has begun selling a $12/year premium service that adds syncing to iPhones and Android devices, among other features.

San Francisco-based Xmarks -- started as Foxmarks in 2006 with backing by software pioneer Mitch Kapor -- had about 2 million users when it announced in late September that it would would have to shut down its service.

A subsequent posting said the firm had considered and rejected the "freemium" strategy it's now adopting. But LastPass has been selling its own $12/year premium service since March of 2009--Siegrist wrote that about 4.5 percent of its 850,000 users subscribe -- and can now market Xmark's upgrade to its users (subscribing to both services will cost $20 a year).

A revived Xmarks will continue to face other competitive pressures. The next version of Mozilla Firefox will be able to sync bookmarks and settings; Google's Chrome already does.

Neither of those options will sync bookmarks between different browsers--say, Safari on a Mac at home and Firefox on a PC at work. But many users may not bother with bookmarks at all, instead relying on their browsers' address auto-complete and search functions. Chrome already prioritizes them over bookmarks in its interface, and the upcoming releases of Firefox and Internet Explorer will do the same.

I am not among that contingent, and my browser setup matches the description two paragraphs above. Yet I must admit that I've yet to try out either company's service (even after talking shop with Siegrist at a conference in May). So: How do you like each? And what's your review of their combination?

By Rob Pegoraro  | December 2, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Security, The Web  
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Comments

I've used xmarks for years, and I love it, because I am always switching from Firefox o Chrome to Safari (occasionally), on Mac, Windows and Linux, and it's really the best way to keep bookmarks/favorites in sync. And I started using Lastpass last year, replacing 1password, and I truly love that service. In addition to having a stable and convenient password manager that works on Mac, Windows and Linux and on multiple browsers, I have my strong passwords with me on my Android phone and my iPod Touch whenever I need them. (That last part costs me $12 a year; don't tell Lastpass, but I'd pay even more.)

I'm glad that xmarks looks to be in good hands going forward. I feared that it would bought/funded by some private venture fund more interested in selling demographic bookmark data to advertisers or something.

Posted by: doog | December 2, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Rob,
The Best Free thing to happen to me regarding saving bookmarks has been Foxmarks/Xmarks.
And the best thing since then is the download and install of LastPass which I followed with the Purchase of a YUBIKEY.
The three of these together are a winning Triad of stability.

Posted by: mrclarke3 | December 2, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Rob,
The Best Free thing to happen to me regarding saving bookmarks has been Foxmarks/Xmarks.
And the best thing since then is the download and install of LastPass which I followed with the Purchase of a YUBIKEY.
The three of these together are a winning Triad of stability and Security.

Posted by: mrclarke3 | December 2, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Love Xmarks. Coincidentally I'd just stopped by Xmarks this morning to check on what was going to be a "going away" party. Sharing Mac and Dell desktops, and Compaq laptop (Safari and Firefox) with family, plus Dell at work (IE-required and Firefox) it is great to be able to sync everywhere.

Posted by: markjcga | December 2, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I stopped bookmarking websites and webpages the day after I discovered the "Scrapbook" plug in for FireFox.

At least in my view, I question the future of simple url "bookmarks", when I can have the entire page that caught my attention and needs saved,and simply use the pages Home function, to get back to the lead directory of the site.

Posted by: wy4ridem | December 3, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse

I use both the free version of LastPass and Xmarks. I'd love to see LastPass add web access to both on the same site. LastPass has been great way to eliminate hassle of memorizing and managing passwords at home, and keep track of money and bill payments while I'm away from home. Adding direct links to commonly used sites like the kids' schools and doctors' offices would make this service even better.

Posted by: annanemas | December 3, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

XMarks is great and you should really give it a whirl, even if you only use one browser. Firefox's last version of sync feature was a disaster that they ended up pulling. XMark "just works" and does it securely as well.

And of course if you use multiple browsers - and what tech geek doesn't - it's a Godsend. Having my bookmarks, passwords, form data, history, and even open tabs sync between devices and browsers is enormously convenient, and adding support for iPhones and Android only makes it better.

Posted by: Ixian | December 3, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I am not familiar with LastPass, but I have used XMarks for about a year and I LOVE it for synching both FireFox and Safari on a laptop and my desktop. I am delighted that they have avoided a shutdown, and I'll probably subscribe to their premium service (which I don't need) just to support them.

Posted by: TandemCaptain | December 3, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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