Thursday, July 17, 2008

Del.icio.us contemplating Firefox synchronization

In an earlier post, I compared Del.icio.us Bookmarks to Firefox 3’s fancy new bookmark engine, Places. Since then, I’ve experimented with using Firefox Bookmarks alone and in concert with Yoono, StumbleUpon, and Foxmarks. But nothing can fully replace the experience you get with Del.icio.us. Its combination of speed, elegance, and social integration with sites around the Web (e.g., FriendFeed, Facebook) make it hard to beat. What I really want is some way to synchronize my Del.icio.us bookmarks with Firefox.

Now it seems like the folk at Del.icio.us are thinking along the same lines. Earlier this week, on Yahoo’s official user group for the Del.icio.us Bookmarks add-on, product manager Stephen Hood responded the question, “Why doesn't the Delicious extension for Fx3 integrate with the bookmark system?” His answer confirmed they may be planning to do exactly that:

Yep, we are definitely looking into how this could work. There are a
few challenges, including the fact that Firefox support spaces in tags
but Delicious does not.

For me the bigger concern is illustrated via a bit of history. When
we first launched the Delicious Bookmarks add-on (nearly two years ago
now), the original version did in fact integrate with the Firefox
bookmarks system. But ironically, it integrated SO well that users at
the time were nearly unanimous in their hatred for that approach.
Ooops. :) People felt that we had overreached by building Delicious
too deeply into their local bookmark system. We heard a lot of
feedback that people wanted to keep their Firefox bookmarks separate
from Delicious, since they used them for different purposes and wanted
to organize them in different ways.

As a result of the feeback we did some rethinking and the team did
some great work in quickly turning out a new version that was more
like what we have today -- an add-on that co-exists with the Firefox
bookmarking functionality and conservatively hooks into it where
appropriate.

Given all the new whizbang goodness in FF3, it certainly makes sense
to rethink all of this. But I wonder if people might dislike the
results if we went ahead and integrated more deeply...

I responded to that same thread, suggesting that Del.icio.us could integrate with Firefox by synchronizing with a particular folder (this is similar to the way StumbleUpon saves bookmarks to Firefox). But another approach might offer a more complete sync, like Foxmarks. Whatever the level of integration, synchronization should be optional, not mandatory.

Given that Del.icio.us Bookmarks already accommodates users who prefer a “classic” feel, I’d imagine Del.icio.us would be sensitive to user preferences and privacy as they implement synchronization. This is exciting news for us Del.icio.us fanboys, though.

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