Google Chrome Gets Multi-User Synchronisation


The latest beta of Google’s Chrome browser adds portability for bookmarks, extensions and apps

No sooner did Google Chrome wrap up a great month of market share gain than the company rolled out its next version of the increasingly popular web browser.

Chrome, which Google chief executive Larry Page said last month has more than 200 million users, has moved onto version 16 with syncing software tools that allow more than one user to sign into Chrome and port all of their bookmarks, extensions and applications to any computer.

Easier synchronisation

This will save users of a shared computer from having to download and install software and type in passwords repeatedly. It will also bring over the suggested search capabilities housed in the omnibox Chrome address bar.

Google has incrementally bolstered its synchronisation capabilities since launching Chrome in 2008, adding sync for bookmarks in December 2009 and sync for autofills and extensions in July 2010.

However, adding sync on a single computer for multiple users is a new, welcome addition at a time when parents are buying new machines for the family, or even visiting relatives or friends.

“You may not want your bookmarks and settings mixing with your brother’s or your roommate’s bookmarks and settings, and you wouldn’t want their Chrome stuff syncing to your other devices,” explained Google Chrome engineer Miranda Callahan.

Users can try this multi-user sync by going to options on their Windows PC (or preferences on the Mac), clicking “personal stuff”, and then clicking “add new users”. This will trigger a new instance of Chrome that can be tailored with apps, bookmarks, settings and other Chrome tools.


Chrome drops a badge in the upper corner to let users know whose version of Chrome is open on the screen.

A badge in the upper corner lets you know at a glance that this new Chrome browser belongs to you, and users can click on the badge to see a menu of all the users on that computer, and switch between instantiations.

Multi-user sync greatly improves the portability of Chrome and the data users associate with it, which over time can help more users hungry for such portability adopt Chrome with ease and comfort.

Chrome 16 beta rolled out one day after Net Applications said the browser grew market share from 16.2 percent in September to 17.6 percent in October, the browser’s greatest single month of growth to date.

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