Mozilla is expanding its browser platform into new realms, creating APIs and a portable storehouse for bookmarks, customizations, passwords, histories, preferences and other metadata. Just like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others, Mozilla wants its platform, called Weave, to serve as a kind of a Web operating system, managing basic services for users (more on Techmeme). Under the auspices of Mozilla Labs, the non-profit also plans to build tools and APIs to extend its framework for creating new user experiences.
Initial use cases include automatic backup and restore from the cloud, using Firefox from with your personalizations (such as bookmarks, RSS feeds) from different computers and collaborative bookmarking.
Weave, which requires Firefox 3.0 beta is in it early stages (0.1) with the following features:
- Basic framework and server-side in place for testing and experimentation
- Authentication with a single online service provider (e.g. labs.mozilla.com)
- Bookmark and history synchronization to the server from multiple clients
- Default encryption of all user data with a placeholder algorithm
Weave 0.2, due at the beginning of next year will include:
- Initial Web service APIs for developers to build on
- User controls and ability to delegate (and revoke) access rights to specific bits of browser metadata
- UI to enable sharing on applicable interfaces
Mozilla has 15 to 20 percent share of the browser market, enough to make Weave relevant if it succeeds with the project. And, Mozilla.org has projects ranging from instant messenging and email to calendaring and Web page editing to fill out its platform. It's not going to replace the incumbents, but it will add a strong voice in the mix. Importantly, Mozilla could help establish industry standards that make the Web as an operating system more friction free.