When I heard that Xmarks, the popular cross-browser plug-in that synchronizes bookmarks and passwords across multiple computers, was going out of business, I was really upset. For me, and many others, Xmarks is an invaluable resource. Well, we don't have to worry anymore. LastPass, makers of an excellent password manager, has just announced that they've bought Xmarks. Hurrah!
Better still, for most users, both Xmarks and LastPass will continue to be free. In the blog post announcing the deal, the combined teams wrote:
Xmarks is transitioning to a "freemium" business model, the same model that allowed us to grow into a thriving, profitable business. The browser add-on and the vast majority of what users have enjoyed will remain free. Users can then opt to purchase Xmarks Premium for $12 per year, which includes new enhanced features like Android and iPhone mobile phone apps, priority support, and more. The Xmarks and LastPass Premium offerings are also available bundled together at a reduced subscription rate of $20 per year. For current LastPass Premium users, this means you can upgrade today for only $8 more per year.
We believe the acquisition will prove to be a success because of the common mission shared by LastPass and Xmarks. Xmarks complements LastPass' vision of secure, universal access to the information that gives you entry to your digital life. As the ultimate cross-browser, cross-platform team, Xmarks and LastPass will work together to help more people simplify their digital lives and access their data from anywhere, at any time.
That's not sales hype. I've used Xmarks for years. It really is that good.
I haven't used LastPass, but my colleague Ed Bott has and he found that LastPass "will make you more secure online, period," thanks to its built-in password encryption and Web browser integration. I've just started trying it myself, and I can already see what he means. It does an excellent job of locking down my passwords and online form information.
Unlike many other such Web browser utilities, both Xmarks and LastPass support multiple browsers and operating systems. They both support Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. For browsers, both programs also support Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.
If you're like me, and you're always using multiple computers and are always on the go with your laptop and smartphone, Xmarks and LastPass are must-have utilities. The company also plans on adding Opera and Blackberry support. The premium version also supports iPhone and Android smartphones. Considering how easy it is to misplace a smartphone, I think that's cheap at the price to be sure that if your phone goes missing your passwords will still be safe.
Even if I didn't use a smartphone though, I'd still pay the $20 a year, just to make sure that Xmarks keeps going. Almost losing it once was bad enough, so long as I'm using Web browsers I want to make darn sure that Xmarks is there with me to make my online life easier.