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Mozilla Aims to Weave a New Web

Most Web browser users typically save their preferences and bookmarks locally. A new effort from Mozilla, called "Weave," may change that using a browser-integrated set of hosted online services.

The general idea is that by utilizing a Mozilla online services backend, users can store data such as bookmarks and history. That data can be synchronized with their local browser or even multiple browsers.

Weave is currently in development in Mozilla's Lab effort for emerging technologies, with its initial 0.1 release providing a basic set of functionality.

Synchronizing bookmarks is hardly a new concept, with popular services such as del.icio.us, Google Browser Sync and Apple's .Mac services already established offerings.

The difference with Mozilla Weave is that its designers intend it to become something more than just a bookmark and history synchronization tool.

According to the Mozilla Labs blog post announcing the Weave effort, one of the goals of the project is to, "ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools."

Mozilla also expects the Weave effort to grow into a social effort, enabling a user's online hosted data to be shared and accessed by friends. The group also plans to build out tools and APIs so that developers can expand and utilize the platform.

In a Mozilla Labs blog feedback post, Chris Beard, vice president and general manager of Mozilla Labs, said Mozilla is launching the project to explore this space.

"We have some ideas and an initial prototype that we can build upon, but the idea of Mozilla Labs is that it is a space for open shared collaboration and exploration of new idea," Beard wrote. "Not just a place for gathering user feedback and early adoption."

At present, Weave only works with the latest Firefox 3 Beta 2 release . Firefox 3 itself includes a re-worked method of handling bookmarks and history with the new Places engine, which among other enhancements makes both history and bookmarks more usable and searchable.

Mozilla plans for Weave's next release to come in early 2008. The version is likely to include an API for third-party developers as well as user controls for sharing information.

Whether will actually be spun out from the Mozilla Labs effort as a full-fledged, stand-alone effort remains to be seen. Other efforts that the open source developer has in its labs include the the Operator effort led by IBM staffer Michael Kaply.