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Issue metadata

Status: Fixed
Email to this user bounced
Closed: Dec 2011
EstimatedDays: ----
NextAction: ----
OS: All
Pri: 2
Type: Feature

Blocked on:
issue 102038

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Issue 15548: Search Engines should be synced

Reported by, Jun 28 2009

Issue description

Chrome Version       :
URLs (if applicable) :
Other browsers tested:
Add OK or FAIL after other browsers where you have tested this issue:
Safari 4:
  Firefox 3.x: OK
IE 7:
IE 8:

What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Install Google Chrome somewhere else
2. Try to import exported bookmarks to the new installation
3. Note that none of the search engine settings are imported (they weren't exported in the first place).

What is the expected result?
One should be able to export/import both bookmarks and search engines.

What happens instead?
Search engines are not exported/imported.

Please provide any additional information below. Attach a screenshot if
Firefox provides search engine export/import by treating search engines as bookmarks with a keyword to active them 
from the url bar.  Google chrome supports the same feature via the "Wrench" > Options > Default Search: Manage option.  
I use this feature extensively for both search engines and quick access to common sites.  For example, I use keyword 
'r' to go to url ''.  Whenever I install on a new PC, or suggest a few to a friends, 
I need to manually recreate the search engines for Google Chrome.  Besides being tedious, this is also very error-
prone.  Being able to export/import these would be VERY useful.

This is somewhat related to  issue 5589 :
Showing comments 72 - 171 of 171 Older

Comment 72 by, Oct 17 2010

thanks! just to have it all in one place: the import/export is as simple as copying the file "<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Data" from one installation or user to the other.

Comment 73 by, Oct 17 2010

You can also use SQLite Database Browser to open the Web Data file (it's a sqlite database) and export the "keywords" table as CSV. Then it can be imported into another Chrome installation without changing other settings. Someone could probably pretty easily write a shell script to do this automatically using the command-line sqlite.

Comment 74 Deleted

Comment 75 Deleted

Comment 76 Deleted

Comment 77 Deleted

Comment 78 by, Oct 19 2010

Thanks petergr (comment #72) for telling me where the data is actually stored ... at least I can make a manual sync for now ..... luckily I am not updating search engines and keywords too often.

Comment 79 by, Oct 19 2010

I turned on sync just so I wouldn't have to copy over all my search engines; I have a bunch that are really useful to me. I was very disappointed and surprised that this didn't happen, esp since it says my preferences would be synchronized when I enabled sync.

In general, search engines in Chrome don't work the way I am used to in ff. I might not be a typical user, but this was a big reason that stopped me from switching earlier.

Comment 80 by, Oct 20 2010

Syncing search engines is a definite must.

As for using the Firefox model, I disagree.

There is the afore-mentioned problems with clicking a keyword enabled bookmark - most people seem to have a special folder just for keyword bookmarks.

Having them as bookmarks makes them less discoverable. A "keyword" field isn't very obvious for a very useful feature. By placing them on the first page of the Preference dialogue, it is much more obvious and should help more people to find the feature.

Chrome also has a feature that Firefox currently doesn't - the concept of a default search engine. It would be a lot harder to merge this into bookmarks effectively, and so it makes sense to have a section to manage all of the searching options in one place, rather than splitting it or creating an obscure UI.

Comment 81 Deleted

Comment 82 Deleted

Comment 83 by, Oct 20 2010

Can a dev please restrict comments to this issue? I support this issue, which is why I starred it, but I'm getting tired of all the "I support this" fluff comments showing up in my Inbox. Thanks.

Comment 84 by, Oct 20 2010

Labels: Restrict-AddIssueComment-Commit

Comment 85 by, Oct 22 2010

 Issue 59578  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 86 by, Oct 25 2010

 Issue 60377  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 87 by, Nov 1 2010

Issue chromium-os:8439 has been merged into this issue.

Comment 88 by, Nov 10 2010

Labels: -Mstone-9 Mstone-10

Comment 89 by, Nov 20 2010

 Issue 63759  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 90 by, Dec 8 2010

Labels: -Mstone-10 Mstone-11
No one's working on this, so punting. *sigh*

Comment 91 by, Dec 15 2010

Comment 92 by, Dec 29 2010

 Issue 68104  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 93 by, Jan 20 2011

 Issue 69789  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 94 by, Jan 20 2011

 Issue 69955  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 95 by, Feb 14 2011

Labels: -Mstone-11 Mstone-12

Comment 96 by, Mar 1 2011

Status: Assigned
Officially claiming this bug as 20% work! :)

Comment 97 by, Mar 3 2011

Great! This was something on my list eventually, but I'll be happy to help you out. Feel free to ping me and I can give you the run down on what this entails.

Comment 98 by, Mar 14 2011

 Issue 76053  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 99 by, Apr 25 2011

Labels: Mstone13 MovedFrom12
Moving out of M12.

Comment 100 by, Apr 25 2011

Labels: -Mstone-12 Mstone-13
Moving out of M12.

Comment 101 by, May 19 2011

 Issue 83201  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 102 by, Jun 2 2011

Labels: -Mstone-13 Mstone-14 MovedFrom13
Moving !type=meta|regression and !releaseblocker to next mstone

Comment 103 by, Jun 2 2011

Labels: -Mstone13 -MovedFrom12 -MovedFrom13

Comment 104 by, Jun 28 2011

Labels: -Mstone-14 Mstone-15
Status: Started

Comment 105 by, Jun 30 2011

 Issue 88049  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 106 by, Sep 1 2011

Labels: -Restrict-AddIssueComment-Commit

Comment 108 by, Sep 1 2011

And the integration patch is in: - r99114

Search engines are now synced!

A couple caveats:
 - This is currently behind about:flags, and will remain there until we complete integration testing. Hopefully it'll be promoted out of the flag for M16.
 - The server side changes are not fully complete/pushed, so this feature won't work for a couple weeks. It's out now so we can test against the mock Python server (see the run_testserver project)

One more patch coming in to retroactively address some code review comments, then we can close this off.

Comment 109 by, Sep 1 2011

Thank you Steve for making this change.  Looking forward to the rollout.

Comment 110 by, Sep 1 2011

Finally! Milestone 16 is the final version of 16, so it's safe to assume it will be in dev 16?

Comment 111 by, Sep 1 2011

By dev 16, it should be on by default. Dev 15 should have it behind a flag. There's also some lag time where it won't work, as we're waiting on some server changes.

Comment 112 by, Sep 1 2011

Great job, this feature was my top-request.

Comment 113 by, Sep 4 2011

Status: Fixed
Here's the cleanup patch:, committed in revision 99578.

Again, there will be a couple weeks delay before all the official server changes roll out.

Comment 114 by, Sep 8 2011

 Issue 95717  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 115 by, Sep 10 2011

 Issue 96024  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 116 by, Sep 16 2011

When is it likely to roll out in dev channel? Thanks for the work!

Comment 117 by, Oct 10 2011

Any news?

Comment 118 by, Oct 25 2011

Congratulations to everyone: the Stable Channel Chrome version 15 is out and it contains the largest improvement and it is.... Yes, syncing Search engines.

Go to wrench/about and upgrade to Chrome 15 Stable. Then you go to 


and find "allow syncing search engines" (or whatever it says in English, I use Czech Chrome). At the bottom, restart Chrome. Then you go to Wrench/Options, and in PersonalData/Personalize, you may turn on Syncing Search Engines. 

I hope that all others who are subscribed will either forgive or appreciate this message from mine - as well as the first (future) message from a regular Chrome Stable user who will confirm that the syncing actually works! :-)

Comment 119 by, Oct 25 2011

That's an improvement, but when will it graduate from about:flags?  I'm happy to have stuff syncing, but there's no warranty on about:flags stuff.

Comment 120 by, Oct 26 2011

Unfortunately, the syncing probably still doesn't work. It seems to lead to the error in  Issue 100028 .

Comment 121 by, Oct 27 2011

I don't see anything saying flags in the About Google Chrome box.  Or am I misunderstanding.  When I go to the wrench menu, I don't see anything that just says "about".

And I haven't seen the "sync search engines" flag anywhere.  I'm updated to Chrome 15.0.874.106.

Comment 122 by, Oct 27 2011

type "chrome://flags" in the Chrome omnibox
you should see one of the entries that reads "Enable syncing search engines"
enable that

Comment 123 by, Oct 27 2011

The experimental "Enable syncing search engines" seems to be working on my Mac OS Lion but I haven't fully tested it yet. 

Having that said, the same setup doesn't work on my Ubuntu machine. Whenever I have the "Search Engines" option under the Sync section checked, I get the error "Could not connect to the server" while Chrome tries to log in with my Google account to sync up.

In short, the feature is still buggy. But we are seeing progress, so that's good :>

Comment 124 by, Oct 27 2011

windb - What version and of Chrome for Ubuntu was that?

Comment 125 by, Oct 27 2011

The feature is available behind a flag in 15.0.874.106 ( beta / stable ) and up. 

To enable either run Chrome with the --enable-sync-search-engines switch or enable from about:flags -> Enable syncing search engines.

If you are seeing issues, please feel free to file and search the tracker if it is something we are already tracking.

Comment 126 by, Oct 27 2011

Thanks for the work!  One question before trying.  By design, Chrome will *not* delete any search engine during the first sync, right?  (If it deletes a few because of a bug, it's fine.  I am only asking about the intended behaviour.)

Comment 127 by, Oct 27 2011

Yes - we attempt to add all the search engines between your Chrome instances, merging them if there are duplicates. In the merge process, if there is a conflict (let's say you have two machines both with different search engines using "w" as a keyword) then we choose one engine to keep it's keyword, and we preserve the second by uniquifying it's keyword (we just append a "_" to the keyword) so you can manually resolve the conflict if you want to keep both.

If you do see instances where the first sync deletes one or more search engines, please log a bug.

Comment 128 by, Oct 27 2011

16.0.904.0, with "Enable syncing search engines" turned on.

When I set up a new PC, all my search engines were sync'd, but they *all* had the "_" appended.

PCs that are always leave on seem to work OK, but the PCs that I turn off each night got a little weird until I manually adjust them. After that, they seem to be fine.

Comment 129 by, Oct 28 2011

Status: Verified
Given that this feature-request has a record number of people and to help us track correctly, please file new issues that you might be seeing. :)

Test-wise behavior is stable enough (less anything outstanding already tracked) to close this.

Comment 130 by, Oct 28 2011

Sorry, it still doesn't work for me. Whenever I check the "search engines" among the things that are synchronized in Personal Settings, I get "could not connect to server" and "error signing in" as photographed in  Issue 100028 . When I uncheck it, the error goes away.

Comment 131 by, Oct 28 2011

still problems too. Here's a case to try out:

1. create a search for a domain.
2. create a second search for the same domain.
3. sync browsers

The second search I have only exists on the original machine it was created.

Comment 132 by, Oct 29 2011

Seems to cause a crash at shutdown here (on my two windows 7 computers) :(

I attached a dump below
211 KB Download

Comment 133 by Deleted ...@, Oct 30 2011

I'm experiencing a problem with Chrome 15 (release channel). It syncs once and then the customize button no longer does anything. You have to disable it to get the button working again, I've disabled Search Engine sync for now.

I suspect this is why it's currently an about:flags option. Leaving sync tabs enabled is fine but I've not actually synchronised any (never ticked  it) because I don't need to sync tabs.

I hope this is fixed because all I have to do when installing Chrome is login, update my search engines, change any extension settings and Chrome is just the same as my main pc. It's much better than Firefox in this respect (I wish it would sync extensions). It would mean all I've got to do is change extension settings. Hopefully this will get added too.

Comment 134 by, Nov 1 2011

Labels: -Mstone-15 Mstone-17
Status: Assigned
Re-opening this since it's still behind a flag. Retargeting to M17.

Comment 135 by, Nov 1 2011

stevet - sorry for the late reply. The "could not connect to the server" issue that I am having is for Chrome 15.0.874.106 in Ubuntu. Thanks for all the efforts.

Comment 136 by, Nov 1 2011

Steve, do you think this is ready for another go at being enabled by default? If you'd prefer to track in a separate issue or mark as blocking on an outstanding bug, feel free to close/block accordingly.

Comment 137 by, Nov 1 2011

I'm also seeing the "cound not connect to the server problem."  I believe I've seen it on every machine on which I've tried syncing search engines.  Mac OS X Snow Leopard, OS X Lion, Windows 7 64 bit, Windows XP.  

Is this the right place to report that?  Apologies if not, but I see that this is being considered for rollout?  Seems to me something's not ready yet.

Comment 138 by, Nov 1 2011

The blocking issue that comment 137 refers to is being tracked at 102038 ( ).

Comment 139 by, Nov 2 2011

wind/logic/stephen - Thanks for your comments... this information will be useful in tracking down the culprit. I _believe_ that these issues have been fixed in some other patches that did not make it into 15 (Stable's current version)... so when 16 rolls around they should be fixed. We'll keep an eye out on this hypothesis.

Travis - I have a patch coming up that removes the patch from flags, combines it with preferences, and also syncs the default search engine. I'd like to get this out in canary ASAP so it can bake hard before the M17 cut. Let's use this bug as an umbrella for search engines sync on by default (along side prefs)... and the other ones to track individual issues users are seeing. Sounds good?

Comment 140 by, Nov 2 2011

I am seeing the same problem when trying to synch after setting the flag - never connects to the server ... also when selecting 'customise' it does not open a page to allow deselecting the search engines option.

Comment 141 by, Nov 2 2011

Sounds like a plan! Thanks Steve.

Comment 142 by, Nov 2 2011

Hey all - for those who are interested, we believe that this issue has been fixed in r102119 and just missed the boat for the stable/beta releases. If you want to try out the bleeding edge and help verify if this problem still exists, you can try to reproduce it on Chrome Dev ( and report your findings here. I can't seem to reproduce this on canary and everyone who's reported issues so far seem to be on v15 Stable.

We're also working on fixing the issue with "_"s being appended to search engines that aren't duplicates... that fix will be on the way. I'll track it in a separate bug, with evan.s' comment.

Comment 143 by, Nov 7 2011

I can confirm that your fix works. The current Chrome dev does not have the server connection problem.

Comment 144 by, Nov 8 2011

Bookmarks are made to be clicked. Ever click a Custom Search bookmark? It's not pretty.
Keywords are not bookmarks.

Forcing any keyword to be a search engine is equally missing the boat.  Most of my keywords on bookmarks in Firefox don't use a %s at all.  I just want to type tt in the url bar and be taken to my company's ticket queue for our group.  Setting that up as a "search engine" is completely unintuitive and forces me to create redundant bookmarks.  One as a bookmark and one as a "search engine" that doesn't actually search for anything.

Comment 145 by, Nov 8 2011

This is the one truly missing feature in Chrome, as far as I'm concerned.

Comment 146 by, Nov 8 2011

Blockedon: 102038
FYI the issue around the Sync error mostly being seen in v15 is being tracked here:

Comment 147 by, Nov 9 2011

I agree with Jeff and partly Rick; and it was an older issue I proposed. I also have quite a few bookmarks aside from separately produced search engines with the same URL without %s - a completely useless redundancy. Every bookmark should have the right to get a keyword and every bookmark should get the right to get an %s query in it; and in other words, every search engine should be allowed to be added to bookmarks, clicked upon, and offered a small box to fill the query (%s). 

In other words, bookmarks and search engines should be unified. This still doesn't prevent the right-click/omnibox/search-engines-edit: this page could simply open the bookmark manager and filter and list only all the generalized bookmarks that have (at least one) %s in them: there would be a checkbox saying "list bookmarks without %s" and checkbox "list bookmarks with %s" in the bookmark manager. One should also be able to do the other filter - listing bookmarks without %s only.

The bookmark manager should allow you to add a search engine i.e. a bookmark with %s, too. I guess you get my point. These search engines could also be naturally organized into the bookmark folders, just like other bookmarks. Those of us who use lots of search engines surely do realize that they're naturally divided to folders, too. I am using lots of search engines related to science - searches for papers etc. - that naturally belong to the science folders in bookmarks, and so on. Because there are no folders for search engines now etc., I surely have lots of redundant or obsolete ones and it's hard to find them.

Comment 148 by, Nov 9 2011

So what you are proposing is extending the UI for keywords beyond just keywords, and possibly grouping the new UI with bookmarks.

I recommend creating a new issue on this proposal and posting your thoughts there.

Comment 149 by, Nov 9 2011

Thanks, I don't feel that posting proposals randomly works. One would have to hire a P.R. agency. Moreover, I did exactly what you suggest 2 years ago, in  Issue 17342 . Everyone is free to register for that old issue but I don't expect anything to happen. ;-)

Comment 150 by, Nov 9 2011

For clarity on the bookmarks/keywords/search engines issue:

* I agree that keywords on bookmarks are a distinct feature from keywords on search engines (and one that we don't currently support well; making people add these as "search engines" is bad UX and a hack just like Firefox supporting %s in "bookmarks" instead of "search engines" is bad UX and a hack).  That's  bug 79835 .

* Supporting %s on bookmarks as opposed to "search engines" is WontFix.  If it has a substitution portion we consider it to most properly be viewed as a "search".  Similarly, unifying bookmarks and search engines is WontFix.  They are different things.

* Supporting more organization of search engines is likely WontFix because the resulting utility is near zero.  This would be different if we had some sort of pulldown for the address bar that you could get a hierarchical menu of search engines to select from to perform a search, but I don't see us as likely to add such a thing in the foreseeable future.

For future comments, please keep this bug focused only on syncing search engines and file separate bugs for other issues and concerns you have.  This bug is already pretty sprawling and impossible to follow, so if we can't keep discussion here focused it will end up locked to comments from committers only, which isn't as nice as if people just police themselves.

Comment 151 by, Nov 10 2011

as a programmer i am used to functions with zero, one, two, ... arguments.
so if i were to implement this, i would recognize bookmarks called by a keyword and search engines called by a keyword and an additional search string as the same thing. keyword is kind of the function which gets called with the argument(s) given. i would even allow arbitrary %s1 %s2 and so on, so the user can make his stuff behave as he likes. why implement the same thing twice? synching as well as organizing would automatically be unified and provided for everything.

Comment 152 by, Nov 13 2011

This feature should be really appreciated by many heavy Internet user.

Comment 153 by, Nov 14 2011

Project Member
The following revision refers to this bug:

r109882 | | Mon Nov 14 07:05:32 PST 2011

Changed paths:

Merge search engines sync data type with Preferences. Sync the default search provider. Add some defensive measures to prevent deletion of the default search engine or unnecessarily uniquifying keywords.

TEST=Ensure that the default search provider syncs when the Preferences sync data type is enabled. Ensure that the normal search engine syncing changes (add, update, delete) all work.
BUG= 15548 
Review URL:

Comment 154 by, Nov 14 2011

I'd prefer to sync search engines across browsers, but keep the other preferences unsynched.

Can we avoid merging search with preferences?

Comment 155 by, Nov 18 2011

Engine sync is on merged with preferences in M-17 and it looks fine as far as I can tell (even the underscore issue duplication has been resolved). I believe this is now fixed for real :)

Comment 156 by, Dec 13 2011

Status: Fixed
Done - for realz. We're tracking any new bugs in other issues.

Comment 157 by, Dec 13 2011

Awesome! Thanks Steve!

Comment 158 by, Dec 13 2011

Just to confirm, if the current setting is "Sync Everything", will sync'ing Search Engines be included?

Thanks again.  Excited about this feature!

Comment 159 by, Dec 13 2011

Yes. Sync Everything will include search engines. Search engines is now a component of Preferences sync.

Comment 160 by, Dec 14 2011

Despite running 16.0.912.63 I don't see "search engines" as component for sync in the relevant preference pane. Worse, "enable syncing search engines" is still a flag on chrome://flags. Has this been enabled for OSX build?

Comment 161 by, Dec 14 2011

Note that the fix is on Chrome 17 and later.

Comment 162 by, Dec 14 2011

Ah, didn't notice that earlier - and thought that it got closed as a result of today's release :D Nevermind then, I'll wait.

Comment 163 by, Dec 14 2011


Comment 164 by, Dec 14 2011

Can anyone confirm its operation?

Comment 165 by, Dec 14 2011

It works very well in chrome 17. :)

Comment 166 by, Dec 14 2011

Am I the only one who thinks that with syncing of search engines in chrome://flags enabled and turned on in options, I can successfully synchronize search engines in Chrome Stable 16 and the "cannot login" bug is gone?

Comment 167 by, Dec 14 2011

Labels: Restrict-AddIssueComment-Commit

Comment 168 by, Nov 14 2012

Project Member
The following revision refers to this bug:

r17525 | | 2011-09-01T14:30:32.708657Z


Comment 169 by, Mar 10 2013

Project Member
Labels: -Feature-Omnibox -Area-UI -Feature-Sync -Mstone-17 Cr-Services-Sync Cr-UI M-17 Cr-UI-Browser-Omnibox

Comment 170 by, Mar 13 2013

Project Member
Labels: -Restrict-AddIssueComment-Commit Restrict-AddIssueComment-EditIssue

Comment 171 by, Jun 20 2014

Labels: hasTestcase
Showing comments 72 - 171 of 171 Older

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