After tracking Mozilla’s Weave project since its early days, it’s nice to see the effort mature. Mozilla is now offering the first beta of the Weave Sync add-on for the Firefox browser, which can be downloaded here. In case you haven’t been watching Weave, here’s a short recap — Weave is a method to synchronize your web browsing experience across multiple devices that use Firefox. Using Weave, your bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, cookies and more are sent up to Mozilla’s servers and back down again to any other instances of Firefox you use.
New in this first beta is more speed and relevance in the Awesome Bar, a simpler approach to getting started and incremental synchronization. Although I gravitate towards the Safari and Chrome browsers on my computers, I installed Firefox this morning and then added the Weave Sync add-on. Since I haven’t used Firefox in a long while, I asked Weave to replace the old data on the server with the fresher data from my current browser. All told, I think I spent 30 seconds configuring Weave. I then started typing a URL in the Awesome Bar and immediately saw the speed of the new Weave beta — as I typed the URL, the history of my prior visits to that URL and related URLs appeared instantaneously. And this was on a completely fresh installation of Firefox — most impressive! I had to sign in to the website I was looking for and Weave handled that as well.
My first impressions are very positive and the Mozilla team should be proud of their work to this point. It was a long time coming, but Weave is looking like a very solid web synchronization platform right now — it’s simple to use from and end-user perspective, it’s fast, and it helps replicate the web experience across many devices. And by many devices, I mean mobile devices too — Weave is meant for Fennec, which is Mozilla’s mobile version of Firefox for handsets and Internet Tablets. Think about that for a second: all of your bookmarks, cookies, passwords and more from the computer will be seamlessly available on a Nokia N900, for example.
If you’re using Firefox 3.5 or greater on more than one computer, I recommend taking a look at the Weave Sync add-on. It’s blazingly fast and highly useful. I’m not sure it’s enough to get me off of Google Chrome — which I still find faster, but is far less customizable — although I may give Firefox another shot in my day-to-day web work. After all, Mozilla just made it easy for me to switch — all of my personal browsing data is already in Firefox, so there’s no transition time involved.