Not too long ago, Google announced that it was going to stop the development of its Browser Sync project. Browser Sync automatically synchronized bookmarks between different computers. Mozilla just announced a new version of its own bookmarks synchronization product, Weave, which was first announced last December as a Mozilla Labs product. Its first version, while already interesting, wasn’t quite up to par with Google’s offering. With this latest version, Mozilla aims to fill the gaps left by the demise of Browser Sync – at least for Firefox 3 users.
Mozilla especially reworked the installation procedure for Weave. Now, users are walked through the process after initially installing the plugin.
Going Beyond Bookmarks
Besides just synchronizing bookmarks, Weave also saves cookies, passwords, form data, tabs, and the browsing history. These can be turned on and off selectively, though by default, they are all turned on. In the future, Weave will also start synchronizing themes, plugins, and microformats.
One noteworthy difference between Browser Sync and Weave is that Weave, at least in its current implementation, does not work in real-time. Weave will automatically schedule when to synchronize bookmarks or users can initiate the process themselves.
Mozilla has also implemented an initial framework for sharing data with XMPP-based notifications, but so far, it doesn’t seem like there is any front-end access to this framework just yet. In the future, though, this could be used for all kinds of interesting projects and might provide a good way for Mozilla to tie all its different projects together closer.
When the first version of Weave was released, it seemed Mozilla was going to provide developers with an API to hook into by version 0.2. However, the current release does not mention an API anywhere, so it looks like developers will have to wait just a little bit longer before they can start developing their own tools on top of the Weave framework.
There are, of course, already quite a few services available that provide a very similar function, most notably Foxmarks (which we named one of the Top 10 Firefox add-ons in 2006) and Del.icio.us. There are also numerous other bookmarking service available through plugins for Firefox (and IE) and while it has abandoned Browser Sync, Google hasn’t (yet?) given up on the development of Google Bookmarks, though.
By making Weave part of the standard installation of Firefox at some point, though, and by providing a web front-end, Mozilla could easily bypass all of its competitors by providing a more seamless experience.