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What's Next for Firefox? Online Services, Of Course!

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Mozilla Labs VP & General Manager Chris Beard on his blog today hints at what could be coming next from Firefox:

It seems that as the Web continues to evolve and as more of our lives moves online, we could do more to broker even richer online experiences. We’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And, in particular, how the blending of the desktop and the Web — through deeper integration of the browser with online services — could further enhance the user experience, increase user control over personal information, and provide new opportunities for developers to build innovative online experiences.

Mozilla is contemplating offering syncing services, which would allow profile data to be synced between various computers; third parties eventually will be given some kind of access to this information as well. Typically such syncing services would be the preserve of Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. Among the services Beard mentions are:  

  • provide a basic set of optional Mozilla-hosted online services
  • ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools
  • provide users with the ability to fully control and customize their online experience, including whether and how their data should be shared with their family, their friends, and third-parties
  • respect individual privacy (e.g. client-side encryption by default with the ability to delegate access rights)
  • leverage existing open standards and propose new ones as needed
  • build a extensible architecture like Firefox


With personal data and information privacy getting a lot of attention, Firefox has an opportunity here, mostly because they are a trusted party.

Want to know how serious Mozilla is about this? Click here and see for yourself. Update: Mozilla has disabled this link.


22 Responses to “What's Next for Firefox? Online Services, Of Course!”

  1. [..] Where is Minimo?? Mozilla should have also got into a mobile browser market much earlier where Opera, IE and Safari are solidly gaining ground.

    Mozilla should also develop a Firefox variant which can be installed directly on hardware. Beat the Google OS before it rises. Mozilla can become the force to reckon and they can capture very center of Cyber space.[..]

  2. Whats the big deal here? So your bookmarks are exposed, your browser history and what pages you visited today. Who the hell cares? Its not like information on your surfing habits don’t exist already.

    Everything you do online is tracked, get over it and get a life.

    If your concerned about someone having access to your bookmarks then you should stop smoking pot.

  3. @Umang: Are you using the same browser we are? In my experience using Firefox, it has crashed on me (literally) twice. I restart the thing and it restores my session. That’s on various computers with different OS’s and capabilities.

  4. I would pay for these features. I’d much rather pay Mozilla to host these services than give it to Google to do with as they please.
    [oddly enough i do use gmail for some things]

    The most important aspects of this for me is that Mozilla is trustworthy to the core and that they understand that the choice should be given to the individual – opt-in for third parties is the way to go.

    Mozilla developers – keep rocking it…

  5. call me naive but i would trust mozilla corp more than most other private entities

    BUT, at this point the best strategy an advanced user can undertake is to have their own domain. a minor hassle, but this is the only way to exert full control and maintain privacy

  6. While I understand the motivation, it seems like this would add a lot of redundancy with services like Google Gears and addons like Google Browser Sync which can continuously sync your profile across computers. To top that off, Google’s not the only one developing such services, and it’s also only a matter of time before such services get worked into more online apps (i.e. Zoho already uses Gears for offline access).

    Given the work that’s already being done, it makes me question what the purpose would be for Mozilla to pursue the goals they mentioned…particularly as people are already complaining about how light Firefox used to be.