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by Connorhd on October 23rd, 2010

TabCloud is a Chrome extension and Android app which allows you to save open Chrome windows and restore them on another computer or at a later date.

After being thoroughly disappointed by a talk from Mozilla labs about Weave (now called Sync) at last years FOSDEM (they appeared to have made very little progress in the last 3 years, and were not even planning to offer any kind of real-time synchronisation). I had decided to attempt to implement the open window/tab synchronisation feature for Google Chrome as an extension. At the time I planned to host the server for this using node.js and allow real-time synchronisation with changes automatically affecting any machines you currently had connected. After quickly writing a solution using websockets it became obvious this was a harder problem than I anticipated – synchronisation is hard, mainly when things go wrong, i.e. how do you deal with conflicts when multiple machines have flakey connections, also the Chrome extension API makes it very difficult to distinguish the difference between closing all a windows tabs, and closing the window – so the project in that form was abandoned until I could find more time for it.

Fast-forward to the summer and I am working at IBM as a technical intern for Extreme Blue, I have a work laptop, home computer and my personal laptop, I am still using Chrome as my main browser and I would really like a way of sharing my browser sessions between my machines. I had recently created LinkPush (something I intend to blog about shortly), which made me think of using Google App Engine to host a simplified session sharing plugin for Chrome using Google Accounts as a means of secure identification. The result – TabCloud – is an extension which allows you to save an open window as a group of tabs, which can be restored on any other computer (or the same computer at a later date) via the extension interface. It also offers some other features such as naming windows, and re-arranging tabs between open windows and saved sessions by dragging and dropping the tab icons. I also released a very simple Android app which allows you to view your saved tabs as a list from your phone and open any individual link.

TabCloud Screenshot

The project isn’t really anything like my original plans, however I find it extremely useful, hopefully at some point I will find the time to make a truely real-time session synchronisation app (unless Google beat me to it). Firefox 4 beta comes with the current Mozilla Sync (also available as an extension for older Firefoxes), which periodically saves all your open tabs (as well as other data) to their server, which allows you to view open tabs on one machine from another (or mobile device), however (despite this being more what I originally aimed for) this seems a lot less useful in practice than the simpler functionality I have implemented with TabCloud.

If you are interested the whole project is open source and available on GitHub.

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  • Jeff Bednar

    Hello Sir,

    I love Tab Cloud… but for the past week or so (probably correllated to a new chrome release) it is disabled every time I open chrome. I’ve read that this is a common issue among other users as well.

    Any thoughts?

  • Connorhd

    I’m really not sure what is causing this, I plan to look into the problem as soon as I can so hopefully it will be fixed soon.

  • Joe

    Amazing extension!

    I hope you can add my suggestion. :D

  • Дмитрий Петько

    Мечтал о таком дополнении!

  • Marek

    Great extension. One question. Is there any chance to port it to Opera? I’m often using Chrome and Opera alternately and such app would be really nice way to sync opened tabs between two browsers.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I am planning to release an Opera version, I’m rather busy right now but I plan on updating the Firefox version to contain all of the Chrome features, as well as release Opera and Safari versions in the near future.

  • xERO

    What about offline capability..?

  • Anonymous

    I hadn’t really considered this, considering TabCloud only saves URLs and not the websites themselves when would this be useful?

  • Mirek Toms

    What can i do with this message? All three hypertexts down the window are blind.
    This is from my notebook, where I installed Tab Cloud first. On my second comp it is working perfectly. Now I installed on my notebook the extension once more, but without any change.

  • Anonymous

    I have no idea why that would happen, I can only suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the extension. Make sure you install the version from

  • Mirek Toms

    Maybe one day later it begun to work correctly. Without changes, without any reinstallation. My notebook changed its mood, maybe. :-)

  • Edward Boyhan

    This is a great extension. I routinely run chrome with 50 to over 100 tabs open at a time; so I have been looking through all the chrome extensions for a good tab/session/grouping manager. I particularly like the simplicity and aesthetics of your UI. After using this for a bit I find that I have one question/confusion; and several suggestions.

    The help explanation for the middle click action does not seem to agree with my actual results. When I middle click an icon, I get a switch to that icon/tab just like if I left click it. I am running W7 64 bit with Chrome 10. When I check my mouse config, I learn that my middle mouse button is configured as a double click — that probably explains the behavior. I don’t know what default configuration of the middle mouse button you were expecting. Reading carefully, I believe what you expect is the behavior for Ctrl+left click. When I do a Ctrl+left click what I get is a new instance of that icon/tab opened as a new tab (all the way to the right) in the current window. If that’s what you expect, then perhaps the help might make that a little clearer, and also point out that what you might be getting from a middle mouse click depends on your control panel mouse settings (if you are using Windows — behavior for other OS’s is beyond my ken).

    I might suggest a more useful behavior of this type might be to copy (or move) the selected tab to a completely “new” window (others have asked for a new window capability). I might suggest that a drag of a saved or active icon/tab to a non-window-bubble part of your drop down means “move” that tab to a “new” window whereas the middle click (or some other command) means “copy” the tab/icon to a “new” window.

    Some aesthetic/UI suggestions: somewhere on the bubble border between the window title and the window close/save icons could you put the count of the icons/tabs contained in that bubble/window? Also within each window/bubble could you (via some kind of highlighting or bordering) indicate which is the “current” or “active” tab (not sure what the correct terminology is here)?

    Lastly, I can understand why you are using Google to store each users “state” info which I’m guessing is a list of windows with url’s within windows separated by each user’s google login credentials. I understand that your first desire was some kind of synchronization capability. I’m not sure what you were hoping to achieve (and I do know that synch can be bloody difficult — especially at the margins or when things “break”), but there are a number of synch services already extant, and I can imagine where users might not want their browser state info on Google, but rather on a service more under their own control. I would suggest that as an option, or a “save as” icon added to the “close” and “save” windows that would let the user specify an alternate “state” save service. Places like Microsoft’s Skydrive, Dropbox, and Sugarsync all come to mind — these all have the additional advantage of providing already built-in synchronization capabilities (not sure that the synch that they do is what you were looking for, but it’s gotta be a start).

    Anyhow keep up the good work — I look forward to future upgrades :-)

  • Edward Boyhan

    One other thing I just thought of: let the user multi-select icons/tabs using the windows standard “shift” and “ctrl” mechanisms to copy/move multiple tabs to a new window. I tend to think of “windows” as “groups” — so I want the ability to organize/reorganize my tabs into windows that correspond to logical groupings of meaning to me.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the detailed comments, I’ll go through your paragraphs in order.

    The middle click (or ctrl+click) action copies the tab you click on from any local or remote window to the current window, ctrl+dragging a window is also meant to copy rather the move it but this functionality isn’t currently working very well. Configuring your middle mouse button to be double click is not a standard feature in windows, and is probably something your mouse driver has added – its not something that affects most people. Middle click and ctrl+left click are different, but they should have the same affect in TabCloud, mainly for people without a middle mouse button.

    I intend to add a new window option, I’m not quite sure how to add it yet though. There is not a lot of area outside of the window bubbles currently shown to do what you suggest, I will try it out though.

    I’m not sure why a count of the number of tabs is useful, its obvious approximately how big a tab group is by the number of icons, I want to avoid cluttering the interface as much as possible. I will try putting a border on the currently active tab though, I quite like that idea.

    I chose Google logins as I want to use Google App Engine with which they are nicely integrated, and also I wanted to have a similar setup to Sync in Google Chrome. I realise not everyone wants to store their information on Google, and anyone is welcome to take my source code and create an alternative, I however am happy to use Google and simply don’t have time to write all the features everyone would like. I do plan at some point on supporting saving TabCloud as bookmark folders, which would allow you to use any bookmark sync service. The alternatives you suggest however are not really feasible, those services are for syncing files, not lists of information, and most if not all of them rely on some running service on the users computer, which TabCloud cannot interface with from within the browser.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I have been planning to add this for some time, the problem is its fairly difficult to code and I have also already used the ctrl key to mean copy, I am not sure how to support selecting multiple tabs and also allowing copy or move operations.

  • Edward Boyhan

    Well, there’s an implied question in your response, so I’ll try and provide some help. I just spent a little time swanning around in windows explorer to get a precise understanding of the standard Windows multi-select, and copy/move semantics.

    I think you should try and adhere to windows standard mouse button semantics, which have been around since the dawn of time (well at least since the mid 80s:-)). Unfortunately, this will mean having to change your current usage of ctrl+left click because windows already uses this for non-contiguous multi-select (shift+left click is used for contiguous multi-selects). As an alternative might I suggest Alt+left click for your copy function — as I don’t think there are any widely used conventions for this combination.

    That leaves the copy/move semantic. If you drag a multiple selected block of items with the left mouse button, and drop it (somewhere legal :-) ) this means copy the dragged block to the target location. If, on the other hand, you drag the selected block of items with the right mouse button and drop it, what happens is that a little bubble window opens asking you whether you want to copy (the default) or move the block of items.

    I still think that a drag and drop anywhere outside the bubbles representing current or saved windows should mean open a new window and drop the selected block (or single) of tabs/icons there. Other than the standard windows left button drag/right button drag described above, I don’t have any strong suggestions as to copy/move distinctions.

    Perhaps, if you adopt my suggestion (made above) that alt+left click means copy, then alt+drag and then drop means copy the selected block of items, and a simple drag and drop of a selected block means “move”. I would give priority to “move” as this seems to me to be the more useful action.

    To be clear about my prior comment about the confusion caused by the middle mouse button, my point wasn’t to get you to change the middle mouse button semantic per se, but to make the help page clarify that the middle mouse button is meant to copy the clicked item to the current window. I would also recommend putting a warning in the help page that the middle button only works as stated if the middle button behavior has not been modified. Any non-locked down user can change this behavior in control panel. I am using a wireless mouse from Microsoft, and their provided driver apparently modified the middle mouse button semantic. So if even MS is modifying the meaning of the middle button in their own drivers, I don’t think you can really assume that the meaning of the middle button is any way standard. Just a sentence in the help alerting the user as to how the middle mouse button must be configured in order to get the copy behavior you desire is all I’m suggesting (making software work in all possible contexts is SUCH a pain:-)).

    Lastly, I’ll return to the Google saving suggestion one last time — as I see from your response, that I wasn’t as clear as I might have been. Some of your users I’m sure (and I am one for now) are using your extension merely as a session/tab management facility. The ability to carry browser “state” across multiple machines is not all that critical to this user subset. Your extension would work just as well (and perhaps more reliably for some — witness the few comments you’ve received about the necessity of being logged on to Google for this to work) if the “state” info were saved in a local file (many of the session management add-ons in the Firefox world do precisely this). What I was suggesting was that you provide on your options page, the ability for a user to specify a filename where they wanted the “state” info saved. By doing so they would of course forgo your google-based cross cloud synch capabilities. On the other hand they could provide a filename which is a mapped network connection to one of the services I mentioned (no effort for this on your part – you just read/write state info to the file handle the user has given you). On my system my Z: drive is mapped to the public folder on my Skydrive cloud storage. Similar mappings are possible with Dropbox, Sugarsynch, et al. Skydrive for example allows you to specify a folder the contents of which are synched automatically across all your participating machines. So, if I did not want to use Google, and you merely provided me the option of using a local file instead, I could map that local file to my Skydrive synch folder, not use Google, get all the benefits of your standard tab cloud using Skydrive (and perhaps just a little more since the Skydrive synch is an automatic industrial strength facility), and as far as you are concerned you are just reading/writing a local file — no muss no fuss.

  • Anonymous

    I think I’d be ok changing copy to the alt+click/drag combination. I don’t think it is used too much anyway, I agree that move should always be the default action, and I would really like to allow selecting multiple tabs (you may be interested to know that Chrome 12 will allow you to ctrl+click on tabs to select multiple ones and drag them into a new window). I’d prefer to avoid right click+drag as I don’t think I’ve seen that used in a web interface ever.

    I’ll try to improve the documentation, but to be clear, middle click is a click function the same as left and right click. You have changed your middle mouse button to make it not perform a middle click, the same software probably lets you reconfigure the left and right click buttons, but I have to assume no one would do that. I will update the help to make that more obvious though.

    As far as the sync issue goes, for those users I plan to allow them to save the data as bookmarks, which means it will be stored locally and optionally synced using whatever their favourite bookmark sync service is. Unfortunately I cannot save data into local files as extensions in Chrome have no direct access to the users file system. I do also plan on adding an export/import function which would allow the user to download and save the data stored in TabCloud as a backup, this would be manually run though, rather than automatically synced.

  • Edward Boyhan

    After some reflection of course you don’t have direct access to the local file system — as this would vitiate the security-oriented sandboxing, which chrome is rather good at.

    Bookmarks are not my thing — I hardly use them — different usage styles — which is why I usually run with over a hundred tabs open I guess — replaces bookmarks for me (which is also why I’d like to have the counts of open tabs provided — many other extensions in a similar space as yours provide this functionality — I guess I’m more of a cardinality sort of guy rather than steeped in the mysteries of ordinality:-)).

    Since I don’t use bookmarks much, I’m not sure of what use your proposed bookmarking of tabs is. Xmarks I guess provides cross-browser access to bookmarks, but that’s not the same as cross the cloud. As I say I’m not au current with the bookmarking way of doing things.

    Nevertheless, yours is by far the best of all the tab/session/group management extensions that I’ve experimented with since Chrome 10 came out — I’ll be sticking with it — keep up the good work.

  • Anonymous

    My bookmarking proposal is that TabCloud will create a bookmark folder, and within that a folder for each tab group saved, containing the tabs saved as bookmarks. You can then ignore that folder in the bookmarks list (or use it if you want) and the TabCloud popup will let you view what is stored in there with the same interface it has now.

    This would mean you no longer need to use a Google login to persist sessions on one computer, and if you use Xmarks or similar your TabCloud saved windows would be synced to other browsers just as your bookmarks are.

  • Edward Boyhan

    When you do the multi-select, you will have to provide some kind of highlight for the selected tabs, and this highlighting will have to be different from whatever you use to highlight the active/current tabs. Do you think you’ll be able to provide multi-select across multiple open and saved windows, or only within a single window?

  • Anonymous

    To be honest, coding this will be a challenge and I’m not entirely sure what the end result will be. Ideally I’d allow selections from any of the windows (saved and open) then as soon as you drag they would all group together and the group can be placed in any window.

  • Edward Boyhan

    OK, I see how that will work — might even make bookmarks marginally useful to me :-) . Is it going to be an either/or thing? If I’m logged in to Google will I see the open windows/contents, saved windows/contents, bookmarked windows/contents? Or will I see Open+saved or open+bookmarked depending upon some option. If it’s open+saved+bookmarked, I could see the tabcloud pull down getting awfully busy.

    BTW what happens when you have so many open/saved tabs/windows that the pull down needs to extend beyond the physical bottom of your screen? Is there some scrolling mechanism?

    As you said the coding for some of this is going to be complex. Rest assured I won’t be holding my breath waiting for any of this any time soon :-) . I assume you’re back in school with exams on the horizon, pubs to be explored, etc :-) — so maybe nothing till the hols eh?

  • Anonymous

    I was planning to have some kind of tabbed interface to split the ones saved as bookmarks and ones saved on google (although I imagine most users would use one type of storage or the other). I was also planning to extend this interface to allow you to view the windows you have open now/recently on other computers.

    There is a scrolling mechanism at the moment, in the form of a thin scrollbar that will appear if the box gets too big.

    Yeah I’m quite busy, its my final year so I have a 15,000 word report to write right now, followed by exams. I’m hoping to get some of the smaller tweaks and fixes done in the next couple of weeks, but the bigger things are going to have to wait a little while.

  • Tony Sukiennik

    Connor… Nice job on all of your projects… I’m involved in a couple of SW Ventures with Padraig Harrington and his brother Columb that lie in your areas of interest… I found you because of your TabCloud Extension… Try out mine called OxyChrome: — which was just published on the Chrome Web Store yesterday… We have this and a couple of other Products that we might want to talk to you about working on in some capacity this summer and beyond if you are not otherwise occupied… My name is Tony and you can reach me at

  • 5354

    awesome!!!! ^^

  • Anonymous

    TabCloud rulez ! I have a similar idea but keep it in a browser win rather than plugin. we need to collaborate on ideas about UI and behavior. will love it :P

  • Anonymous

    like creating your own ontology?

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    [...] Tab Cloud: This app allows you to save tab groups and restore them at a later date on any computer. This is great for organizing research on different projects, and to name each group to keep everything organized. Tab Cloud also has a compatible iPhone/iPad app so you can pull up website groups on-the-go and across platforms. [...]

  • Dave Kaufman – Techlife

    Love your work. Covered it in my new syndicated Techlife column – “The Tab King” – enjoy -

  • Taras D

    Is there a way of independently backing up the tab cloud data (just in case.. :) )

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  • X_Hunter

    Dude, this is really awesome! Instead of using those specific session management addons, this is just swifter and cool!

    There’s only one con I found so far: restarting Google Chrome or simply shutting it down, requires me to log in again and whenever that happens. I don’t know if it’s just me or all users, but… Is there any chance to add an automatic (saved) login feature? Or even attach the Google Sync login form to keep it logged on as well. It’s simple: Someone logs in on Google Chrome Sync, then with that form filled, it just gives access to your TabCloud management on that specific account.

    I got some other ideas about this addon in specific, but I don’t know if this is the right place to post at. Well, I’ll keep in touch. ;)

    Regards, all of best and keep on the good work!

  • Jose

    Hi Connor, te quiero felicitar desde Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina. Pienso que tu trabajo es EXCELENTE, lo que has logrado en efectividad y simpleza con TABCLOUD, debería ser un modelo de aplicación para otros desarrolladores. Suerte con tus otros emprendimientos en código abierto. 
    José Castro.Lic. en Bioquí 

  • Anonymous

    Hi, thanks for the comments (sorry for the delay in replying),

    I’m working on a new version which more permanently logs in, the current version uses Google App Engine which seems to log some people out more often than it should. I’m pretty busy right now though, so I’m not sure when the new version will be ready.

    Here is as good a place as any to post any ideas you have :)


  • Rinnie

    I love this app! But is there a way to re-save a set of tabs? If not, please introduce one!

  • Mitneck Sahab

    your extension is very helpfull and awefully very nice. One thing that it lack is to export all those bookmarks to another account. so Do please provide a feature which enables this. Thank you in advance

  • Sa1x

    hey awesome plugin. but i have a problem with my saved tabs.
    i changed my google address from to and now my saved tabs are gone. i think they are saved under is the a way to get them back?

  • Jamie Harding

    Love the app , I use this between work and my home pc, just one thing I use Chrome at work and Safari at home on my Mac(i know i can use chrome on a mac but prefer safari) is there any plans in the future to make similar extensions for other browsers?

    thanks again for your hard work.

  • Jamie Harding

    I really like this extension , very useful to save tabs at work at then open them when i get home on my home pc, I use a Windows Pc at work and a Mac at home with Safari. Do you have any plans to write similar extensions for other browsers ie Safari?

    thanks for your hard work.

  • Mikey

    Hey, I love this extension. Three recommendations:

    1.) Add folders — so I don’t just have a giant vertical list of all my tab sessions.

    2.) Cache the data (and upload later) — my internet becomes flakey a lot and I might have a lot of sessions open and want to reboot, but I can’t save any of them because my internet is down. :-(

    3.) Make the API public — I was hoping to write a desktop app that could connect to my TabCloud and enumerate / help me manage my various saved sessions.


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  • Zhi Li from China

    I love your TabCloud so very much, which my whole browsing experience is depending on it. If you could extend this app/extension to other platforms, i.e. iphone, ipad, Safari (this is so important), Opera would make my life and many people’s life easy as charm. P.S. instead of just a drop down list could you make it into a tab window or some sort? when the list gets really long, it has become way toooooo difficult to re-arrange the tabs to get them organised. Thank you so much for this great invention, but please keep making it better!!!

  • Anzhel Bozhinov

    Thank you for TabCloud!

  • FreezeGame

    Great extension! Consider this one a life saver!

  • Ahmad

    Man thank you your extension rocks I am so used to it that I cant use google chrome anymore without it ;)

  • Rarian Rakista

    Can we donate some Bitcoin?

  • Z

    I would really like to have the export data functionality. It is the only one big missing feature.

  • renato.florencia

    tabCloud is down in google chrome man : ( bad request

  • Grandad

    Hey mate, great extension. It’s super useful. However, can I use it to jump from window to window? That is, can I click on the windows shown in the Tabcloud drop down menu without having to save them?

  • Pavel Alexeev

    Unfortunately I had discover it also: Error: Bad Request
    Your client has issued a malformed or illegal request.

    On try of login.

  • Julian

    Hi Been using your extension for a while now and just recently it began coming up with this warning when the box first clicked. I can continue through to get to may saved tabs however it’s becoming painful, any thoughts on the issue ???

  • Laura

    Hi Connor! Thanks so much for a great extension. I use it regularly and also use it to set up other people who are transitioning to gmail from other email. One of the things I’d love to be able to do — and am hoping is possible, either through your app or another — is to be able to have TabCloud “remember” that Google account /0/ is and account /1/ is (or GApps domain). Why? Let’s say someone has 2 work gmails plus a personal gmail. As it is now, they need to make sure they log into the 3 different Google accounts in the same exact order every time, for TabCloud to remember the tabs in the right order. Are there any future plans to be able to hard code /0/, /1/, /2/, etc. to a specific gmail account? Or do you happen to know of another extension that will retain this info? Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer. And, of course, thanks again for a great extension! :-)

  • Hubert Skiba Skibiński

    Good extension. Thanks!

  • Brett

    How do I share my “tabcloud” with others? ie I’m looking at buying something and want someone else’s opinion? Thanks

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  • Irene V.

    Hi Connorhd, I use your app and is essential for my work.
    Thank you very much! really useful just as it is
    Suddenly I´m affraid one day I will loose all my saved tabs (they are a lot) as I use them for ongoing research in different subjects when I don´t want to save bookmarks or pages, and want to come back later.
    I wish tehre was a way to have them all for reference in case one day the app stops working or is no longer there. (I suffered a lot when some months ago I could not connect)
    appreciate very much your work :)

  • Phoebe Orange

    Hi, I am facing problem in the part to load the past saved tabs. Can someone please advise what should I do?