Google Browser Sync Timeout: Is it Just Me?

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Google Browser Sync Error

Originally uploaded by sogrady.

Google Browser Sync is thus far getting an A+ for idea and conception, and a C- for execution. As Cote discusses, Google Browser Sync is extending intrinsically about making the thin client even more portable, about extending our personalization of the browser out beyond the boundaries of a single machine. Unsuprisingly, I love the idea. Here’s what I said back in September:

Or take the example where Jon Udell talked recently of his ability to leave his laptop in the bag during a two week vacation. I find that even with thin-clients, I prefer my implementation of Firefox to someone else’s, because its customized uniquely to me. The network may well be my computer, but I’ll take my version of the terminal over someone else’s.

While I’ve had individual pieces of the Google offering before – I’ve used bookmark syncing extensions and I’ve been a huge SessionSaver fan since I first ran across it – but I’ve never had them all together, in one place. So conceptually, I’m not only predisposed to Google Browser Sync, I’m 100% sold.

So what’s the problem? Well, I can’t get it to work. I don’t know if it’s another Google Analytics style scalability issue or if it’s just not ready for someone that regularly keeps 20 tabs open and runs a dozen extensions, but it simply won’t sync for me. All I get is the error pictured above – a timeout. I’ve tried every couple of hours for two days, and so far, no joy.

Is anyone else seeing this, or is it just me?


  1. Perhaps this is a “non-issue” or a “who cares issue”, but did Google just ownser everyone’s browser data with this thing?

  2. Have you tried on a different computer and/or a different network? That would at least tell you whether it’s the client, network, or server. -ian

  3. I didn’t read the ToS/EULA closely enough to determine whether they 0wnz0r my data now. I’m not sure if I really care if they do, since I don’t store any personally-sensitive passwords in Firefox…

  4. No solution for your problem, sog, but I think the Browser Sync needs to go further. I want it to install and keep up to date my extensions across my instances of Firefox. That would be awesome.

  5. Im facing a problem with this as well. Somehow out of the three networks i usually use my computer, it works on only one – the one at work with firewall and works!
    Any reason why this is happening?

  6. Well, I think I know what’s causing it. At work, it works just fine, but at home, I always get the timeout. With my download meter, I can see that the browser sync tool is sending quite some data to the google servers (takes my full upload bandwidth at home, which is 256kbit/s). When that operation doesn’t complete in time, the timeout error appears…

    Apparently google expected the sync to be completed in a shorter time than possible with my upload speed at home.

  7. Here is the solution. Open the browserstate.js with a text editor (mostly find under C:Documents and SettingsUserName/Application [email protected]oogle.comlib or in linux /home/UserName/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxx.default/extensions/[email protected]/lib/) )

    find the value UPDATE_TIMEOUT= and change its value to a few more times than the default. 360000 works for me.

  8. Im facing a problem with this as well. I have installed the Firefox extension on three of my computers, it works on only one – the one at work with firewall, but not on the two at home. Every time I try to synchronize on the computers at home I receive the timeout error.
    Any reason why this is happening?

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