WWD’s Mike Gunderloy covered Mozilla’s Weave project back in December, noting its usefulness in synchronizing bookmarks between a user’s various installations of Firefox…essentially moving a Firefox user profile into the cloud.
Monday saw the release of a major update to Weave, bringing in several new features and, tellingly, locating Weave at a subdomain of Mozilla, named ‘services‘, implying that Weave will be the umbrella for a number of web-based service coming from Mozilla’s commercial arm. Also telling is the hackable and very social URL issued to a user on signup (in my case, http://services.mozilla.com/user/imran)
So what’s new?
- Installation is much simpler, being no more complex than installing any other Firefox plugin, though worryingly users are warned to backup their local firefox profile prior installation (likely a results of Weave’s experimental status).
- The ability to store not only bookmarks, but browser history, cookies, passwords, form entries and the current set of open tabs – essentially all the data necessary to ‘resurrect’ your Firefox profile on another device…I wonder if Weave will extend to Mozilla’s non-PC efforts for mobile devices.
- A manually configurable synchronization tool to keep your online and local profiles aligned.
- Encryption of data during synchronization and indeed the possibility of sharing profile data with third parties with the user’s consent.
- The potential for XMPP-based notification.
Though Weave is far from stable and various features still work in a haphazard manner, the current update illustrates an exciting path to the future for Mozilla, finally moving into the cloud, application data from most web worker’s most powerful and useful application.
The possibilities for Weave are enormous, notably the possibility of sharing parts of your profile with third parties. Perhaps Weave and Firefox will be the nexus points at which OpenID, Data Portability and the Open Social Graph will be centralized and useable enough to break into mainstream usage.