Bookmarks serve as your electronic memory of the Web. When you encounter a page you know you’ll want to revisit, press Command-D in Safari or Firefox to add the site to the Bookmarks menu, or drag its address from the address bar to the Bookmarks bar (in Safari; the Bookmarks toolbar in Firefox). But once you’ve gathered important bookmarks, how can you use them on your different computers and, if necessary, in different browsers?
Sync them up
If you use many computers but just one browser, a number of tools can help you sync your bookmarks so they’re the same wherever you go. Among its other features, Apple’s $100-per-year .Mac service lets you sync your Safari bookmarks across different Macs. When you sync to .Mac from, say, your desktop Mac, you can configure your MacBook Pro to pick up the changes, so you’ll have everything with you on the road. You can also access all your Safari bookmarks online, from the .Mac Web site. (For more information, see Keeping Your Macs in Sync.)
If you use Firefox, Foxmarks’ free Foxmarks Bookmarks Synchronizer syncs your bookmarks to a special Web site, my.foxmarks.com. You can then access all your bookmarks from any computer. Similarly, Google’s free Google Browser Sync, lets you synchronize bookmarks, passwords, cookies, history, tabs, and windows. It can even encrypt some of your sensitive data, such as passwords and cookies.
Use a systemwide manager
If you use many different browsers, consider using a systemwide bookmark manager. Some store the bookmarks themselves, and others access the bookmarks you’ve saved across different browsers. Everyday Software’s $12 Bookit 3.7.1 ( ) not only lets you work with bookmarks you’ve saved in each of your browsers, but also syncs bookmarks from one browser to another—so if you use different browsers, you can have the same set of bookmarks for each. You can access its bookmarks from a menu extra or from the Dock, as well as from within the program itself.
Happy Apps’ $25 WebnoteHappy organizes bookmarks from Safari, Firefox, and OmniWeb, and it lets you add tags and notes, so they’re easier to find later. You can also search for names, URLs, tags, and titles. Use smart folders to sort your bookmarks by keywords.
Manage bookmarks online
If you spend a lot of time moving around and working on different computers, what could be more convenient than organizing your bookmarks on the Web?
Google Bookmarks and Yahoo Bookmarks both offer basic services for storing bookmarks online. Both require that you add bookmarks manually, but you can do so from any Web browser on any computer (or operating system).
Take things a step further with del.icio.us. This social bookmark manager lets you add bookmarks to a personal Web page, but that’s just the beginning. When you view your bookmarks, you can see how many other people have bookmarked the same pages, and then check their lists to find other interesting Web sites. You can also share your bookmarks.
Add new bookmarks to del.icio.us by using a bookmarklet button. From your Bookmarks bar or toolbar, click on the bookmarklet button to add the site. Or upload all the bookmarks you’ve already saved in your browser.
[ Kirk McElhearn has authored and coauthored a dozen Mac books. His Web site, Kirkville, has an RSS feed. ]Tasty Bookmarks: When you add a bookmark to del.icio.us, you can access it from anywhere. But this site also helps you discover new sites by letting you see the bookmarks of other people who have bookmarked your favorite sites.