Yesterday, we also had a chance to interview Mozilla’s chairperson Mitchell Baker at LeWeb in Paris. During this discussion, we talked about Mozilla’s plans for the coming year, which involve a renewed focus on speed, app stores for the Web and open audio and video in the browser. We also touched upon Mozilla’s vision for giving users the ability to control their online identity in the browser. Baker was also interviewed by Robert Scoble on stage at LeWeb today.

Performance: Less JavaScript – More Hardware Acceleration

Looking ahead to 2011, Baker told us that she believes that we will mostly see more of what we’ve already seen in 2010. Mozilla plans to focus strongly on speed – especially with an eye on hardware acceleration. Baker believes that JavaScript optimization is reaching a plateau right now and that we won’t any of the major performance gains there that we’ve become accustomed to in the last few years. On the other hand, though, she pointed out that the study of JavaScript performance is slowly becoming legit in academia, so there is a chance that we will see something new come out of university labs that will bring unexpected speed gains in the future.

2011: The Year for Open Audio and Video on the Web?

During her interview with Robert Scoble at LeWeb today, Baker also showed a demo of how the combination of HTML5, JavaScript and technologies like Canvas 2D and 3D can bring text, video and audio closer together on the Web, while pulling in real-time information from the open Web at the same time. As she noted, “the next time you hear that the Web can’t do something, think again.” Indeed, in our earlier interview, Baker pointed out that she thinks that the next year could finally fulfill the promise of video on the Web. The next year, she told us, “could be the year where we actually understand what these technologies can do.” With these new technologies, developers will be able to sync video and text, for example, or create audio visualizations.

Mozilla’s Vision: Control Your Online Identity on the Web

One area Mozilla has focused on recently is online identity. According to Baker, we are “at risk to be locked in with regards to identity. No matter how great Facebook is, I don’t want it to own me.” In Mozilla’s vision, users should be able to control how they identify themselves to the Web. In our interview, though, she also noted that Mozilla doesn’t want to replace existing solutions. As we put more and more personal information on the Web, however, Mozilla believes that we should be able to own and control this data. For now, though, this remains an interesting vision but Mozilla has not shipped any actual product that put this idea into practice yet.

Mozilla Chairperson Mitchell Baker:

” The browser is history. We don’t browse the Internet anymore – we interact with the Internet through apps and social networks.”

App Stores for the Web

Of course, we also talked about app stores for the Web. In her on-stage interview at LeWeb today, Baker pointed out that the key problem that needs to be solved here is discoverability for apps. While Mozilla may run its own app store in the future, the organization is is more interested in creating specs for creating open stores that are compatible with each other. Web apps, Baker told us, should be compatible with the whole Web, no matter which browser vendor you choose. This focus on stores – which, as Baker told us, has become possible because Apple did such a great job at popularizing the concept – fits in well with her generally vision of the browser. According to her, the “browser is history. We don’t browse the Internet anymore – we interact with the Internet through apps and social networks.”

Image credit: Joi Ito