Weave becomes Firefox Sync; will be integrated into browser

For a while now, Mozilla has been working on a Labs project called Weave. Weave was an add-on that allowed users to synchronize their customized settings across all of their computers. Google's Chrome browser offers a bookmark and preference sync, similar to Weave. However, Chrome's solution doesn't take its capabilities nearly as far. Mozilla's solution syncs bookmarks, browsing history, preferences, passwords, filled forms, and a nice chunk of previously opened tabs across all of a user's computers. This is done by sending the data, encrypted, over to Mozilla's servers, where it is eventually pushed to each client that your credentials are used on.

According to the official Mozilla Labs site, Weave is finally handing in its training wheels and moving into the spotlight. Now called Firefox Sync, the service has been integrated into the Firefox roadmap and will eventually be hard-coded into a future major release of the world's number two web browser (perhaps it will make it into 4.0). In the meantime, should a user get antsy and want to take advantage of Firefox Sync, it's available as a standalone add-on. The newly re-named project is now available in more than 15 languages, contains a simpler sign-up and setup process, and has a single button to access your remote tabs.

To try Firefox Sync, visit the Add-ons for Firefox site and give it a go.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Impulse Weekly Top 10 for May 29th

Next Story

Portal 2 E3 event cancelled, replaced by 'surprise'

55 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I've been using it since version 0.7, and it keeps getting better and better. It will only initiate a sync when the browser is being idle or after a certain amount of time, so you will not likely notice it execpt with the indicator at the bottom-right corner.

Boring, just another thing to make FF slower and bulkier than it already is. FF is way to bulky, it needs less toolbars, slimmer tabs, smoother interface, and a new look. The themes and addons to make FF look better just slow it down majorly, and modifying in the about:config to make FF faster just makes memory leaks even bigger (They are already huge). They need to look at Chrome, Opera, and Maxthon. Those are really fast browsers with the look that makes it feel even faster. Also the latest version of the engine Gecko (In the nightly build) is terrible, its faster yes, but it has a hard time displaying pages right. They should look into Chromium, its open source and free. It has 0 mistakes displaying web pages and it is much faster than Gecko. Maybe FF should look into doing what I did for my browser, combine the Gecko and Chromium engine with the Trident fail safes. It worked out for me, scored 100/100 on acid 3, it hit 5x higher on Peacekeeper than FF and 2x higher than Chrome.

Yeah I like Chrome's more simplistic approach. I for one don't really want my browsing history, tabs or any of that crap synchronized anywhere. I just need my bookmarks for the most part and that about does it for me. Chrome has so few preferences (which I don't even bother with) that I don't really care about it syncing anything else. One feature I would love to see that I've seen demoed is the ability to push URL's and such to my mobile phone (Android). Also what about sync across multiple browsers? Xmarks ftw!

and all this is , is yet another Opera Browser knockoff that doesn't do it anywhere near as effective. Including mouse gestures which Opera is still rocking on. Besides Opera, can any other browser not rip them off.

Argh, browser fanboys. Do you seriously expect every browser to have completely separate feature sets? Can only one have an address bar now? Who gets the home button? Should Chrome drop tabs?

Kirkburn said,
Argh, browser fanboys. Do you seriously expect every browser to have completely separate feature sets? Can only one have an address bar now? Who gets the home button? Should Chrome drop tabs?

voice of reason. +1 to you.

Hmmm. I'm not sure I would want my browsing history at home to show up on my work computer. I'm sure it will be configurable. Just sayin.

Just used it to sync my profile from my windows 7 machine to my linux machine. First time posting from my linux computer. Worked like a charm.

Another Opera feature finds its way to another browser. Said it before and I'll say it again, Starting to look more like Opera every day.

schiz-o-phren-ic said,
Another Opera feature finds its way to another browser. Said it before and I'll say it again, Starting to look more like Opera every day.

Operas userbase is teeny tiny in comparison, even after they cry to the EU. So who cares.

akav0id said,

Operas userbase is teeny tiny in comparison, even after they cry to the EU. So who cares.

patents probably care. kinda surprised Opera hasn't sued Chrome yet. Or Safari. How would you like your hard work ripped off? which is probably where RIAA comes from except they rip the artists off first..

schiz-o-phren-ic said,
Another Opera feature finds its way to another browser. Said it before and I'll say it again, Starting to look more like Opera every day.

If Opera really was that great and innovative, why wouldn't everyone use it?
People don't choose FireFox because they like the cute little fox imo...

Anyway, I used Opera a year ago and I wasn't really sold on it. Just didn't feel right, for some reason. I'm a happy Chrome user now, fast and light.

Edited by RuuddieBoy, Jun 2 2010, 1:26am :

RuuddieBoy said,

If Opera really was that great and innovative, why wouldn't everyone use it?
People don't choose FireFox because they like the cute little fox imo...

Many reasons. Opera always appealed to the tech-savvy user, lots of linux users specifically. It's massive set of options/settings at first scared off most casual folks.

Firefox was simple and fast at first. Extremely simple. Any options a user wanted, was only an addon/plug away. Funny cause most plugins are added just to add the functionality rhat Opera already provides out the box. Simple features such as mouse gestures, paste and go, session saver, tab specific options and tons more.

Then there's adblock, something Opera is able to pull off just not as simple as downloading the addon. The average user don't know jack about finding and editing host files to achieve this on Opera.

I remember when I first tried FF. I would add so many plugins/addons only to step back and realized that all i was doing, was mimicking every function I already had in Opera.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why it isnt as successful as its competition. Google is anything but 'light'. Quite the resource hog imo. But the name Google alone boosts sales on anything that carries the name. It's a damn verb for crying out loud.

Anyways, I find myself bouncing between all 3 browsers. But Opera is my choice for comfortable, smooth and organized browsing. Right out the box. To each their own. But one thing that can't be disputed is the fact that all these other browsers are just biting off the Opera features recipe.

schiz-o-phren-ic said,

Many reasons. Opera always appealed to the tech-savvy user, lots of linux users specifically. It's massive set of options/settings at first scared off most casual folks.

Firefox was simple and fast at first. Extremely simple. Any options a user wanted, was only an addon/plug away. Funny cause most plugins are added just to add the functionality rhat Opera already provides out the box. Simple features such as mouse gestures, paste and go, session saver, tab specific options and tons more.

Then there's adblock, something Opera is able to pull off just not as simple as downloading the addon. The average user don't know jack about finding and editing host files to achieve this on Opera.

I remember when I first tried FF. I would add so many plugins/addons only to step back and realized that all i was doing, was mimicking every function I already had in Opera.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why it isnt as successful as its competition. Google is anything but 'light'. Quite the resource hog imo. But the name Google alone boosts sales on anything that carries the name. It's a damn verb for crying out loud.

Anyways, I find myself bouncing between all 3 browsers. But Opera is my choice for comfortable, smooth and organized browsing. Right out the box. To each their own. But one thing that can't be disputed is the fact that all these other browsers are just biting off the Opera features recipe.

Couldn't agree more.

schiz-o-phren-ic said,

Many reasons. Opera always appealed to the tech-savvy user, lots of linux users specifically. It's massive set of options/settings at first scared off most casual folks.

Firefox was simple and fast at first. Extremely simple. Any options a user wanted, was only an addon/plug away. Funny cause most plugins are added just to add the functionality rhat Opera already provides out the box. Simple features such as mouse gestures, paste and go, session saver, tab specific options and tons more.

Then there's adblock, something Opera is able to pull off just not as simple as downloading the addon. The average user don't know jack about finding and editing host files to achieve this on Opera.

I remember when I first tried FF. I would add so many plugins/addons only to step back and realized that all i was doing, was mimicking every function I already had in Opera.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why it isnt as successful as its competition. Google is anything but 'light'. Quite the resource hog imo. But the name Google alone boosts sales on anything that carries the name. It's a damn verb for crying out loud.

Anyways, I find myself bouncing between all 3 browsers. But Opera is my choice for comfortable, smooth and organized browsing. Right out the box. To each their own. But one thing that can't be disputed is the fact that all these other browsers are just biting off the Opera features recipe.

Couldn't agree more.

cooky560 said,
Can Weave be turned off, I'd not like my passwords being stored anywhere except locally

Weave's syncing options can be customized by going to its preferences and setting it to a custom sync. Then uncheck sync passwords.

DarkNovaGamer said,

Weave's syncing options can be customized by going to its preferences and setting it to a custom sync. Then uncheck sync passwords.

So can I sync nothing at all when they hard code it?

cooky560 said,

So can I sync nothing at all when they hard code it?

I would expect so. They're not going to force it on everyone.

considering you would have to set up an account with them to even use the service...

Edited by Ned, Jun 1 2010, 11:10pm :

marleyuk said,
Xmarks working fine for me and works across both FF and Chrome

+1
Further more, it works on IE too.

Solid Knight said,

It should sync your add-ons too otherwise it's just another half-assed sync tool.

It does take up space on their servers' to sync addons you know.

DarkNovaGamer said,

It does take up space on their servers' to sync addons you know.


It doesn't have to. The sync info stored on their servers wouldn't have to store the actual extensions, just the extension id numbers - the pointers to where they can be downloaded automatically as another browser is synced.

Edited by Northgrove, Jun 1 2010, 10:04pm :

Northgrove said,

It doesn't have to. The sync info stored on their servers wouldn't have to store the actual extensions, just the extension id numbers - the pointers to where they can be downloaded automatically as another browser is synced.

I'm sure people would complain it doesn't store the configuration of the extensions. Everyone is going to complain about something, can't please everybody.

Northgrove said,

It doesn't have to. The sync info stored on their servers wouldn't have to store the actual extensions, just the extension id numbers - the pointers to where they can be downloaded automatically as another browser is synced.

no, to do this properly you would have to store your entire settings folder on the cloud. Then we would get into issues of browser version compatibility. Hmm...maybe with jetpack. Maybe.

Solid Knight said,
Can it sync add-ons too?
You can use FEBE, which can backup most of Firefox stuff, including extensions. It supports uploading to Box.net so you can have a backup online wherever you go.

Its not like getting Firefox Sync to do it, but at least it works fine.

Chrome needs to sync everything. I hate that my full browsing history isn't uploaded. It would be so useful if I could find a website I visited across my desktop, laptop or android device in the same way I can search my search history on google now. The current method of having history stored on each device is antiquated.

mad_onion said,
Chrome needs to sync everything. I hate that my full browsing history isn't uploaded. It would be so useful if I could find a website I visited across my desktop, laptop or android device in the same way I can search my search history on google now. The current method of having history stored on each device is antiquated.

Oh man...I'd love to have chrome sync with the Android browser. One of the main reasons the I've been following the Android fennec port so closely is because of Weave...er....Firefox Sync.

mad_onion said,
Chrome needs to sync everything. I hate that my full browsing history isn't uploaded. It would be so useful if I could find a website I visited across my desktop, laptop or android device in the same way I can search my search history on google now. The current method of having history stored on each device is antiquated.

Today, Chrome 5 syncs bookmarks, themes settings, homepage, startup settings, web content/filtering settings, preferred languages, and zoom settings. I think Chrome 6 is intended to sync even more, part of Google's "SyncV2" project.

Edited by Northgrove, Jun 1 2010, 10:44pm :

Northgrove said,

Today, Chrome 5 syncs bookmarks, themes settings, homepage, startup settings, web content/filtering settings, preferred languages, and zoom settings. I think Chrome 6 is intended to sync even more, part of Google's "SyncV2" project.

Nice, I just found the options you mention. When they finally do manage to sync passwords though is the day I actually uninstall Firefox.

I used XMarks on Firefox for some time, although I disliked it from the day they started tagging bookmarks for their and everyone elses benefit. I, like many others, just want to sync/backup my data. This new stuff from Firefox does exactly that... shame its not enough to make me go back though.
Mozilla has been the professionals choice for some time now but they really need to catch up as Chrome has sadly stolen that spot.

I love weave (sync) but I hope they don't drop the easy options for quick disconnect when it becomes integrated rather than an addon, I don't want it auto-syncing when I'm playing various games, quakelive for example.

The only thing I ever didn't like about it, is after first install it tries to start syncing everything before you have the chance to tell it to NOT sync cookies, passwords etc if you don't want it to. (I only use for bookmarks)

thatguyandrew1992 said,
I tried Weave but couldnt get it working. but i found Xmarks and that's amazing!

I use Xmarks and it is very nice indeed. Altough, I only use it to sync bookmarks...

thatguyandrew1992 said,
I tried Weave but couldnt get it working. but i found Xmarks and that's amazing!

weave never sync'd properly for me, however xmarks is just golden

thatguyandrew1992 said,
I tried Weave but couldnt get it working. but i found Xmarks and that's amazing!
I used XMarks before FF Sync (Weave), and it failed miserably whenever I was connected to a hotspot (wifi login page) but before I had full internet access.

I got dialog after dialog of annoying "Could not validate SSL Certificate: XMarks" since XMarks was being redirected to the hotspot landing page and not the right server.
I don't know if they ever fixed this issue, and frankly, I don't care anymore, since FF Sync (Weave) never had that issue, and has worked perfectly ever since.

And before you say "well, how many times are you going to be connecting to a hotspot with a landing page"... for me, it was every hour or so, at the start of classes at my university.

They annoyed the crap out of me, because several would pop-up, sometimes UNDER the current window, and they are modal (meaning you can't do anything with the window until you dismiss it).

thatguyandrew1992 said,
I tried Weave but couldnt get it working. but i found Xmarks and that's amazing!

Another happy XMarks user here. I like the bookmarks sync, but I love too the search engine that they've produced that ranks results by who has bookmarked the links. I also love the little tags it puts on Google and Bing search results that show you when a result ranks highly on the XMarks search results too.

I haven't tried the tab sync (where your tabs are shared across your browsers) yet, but that could help me out no end too!

Sounds cool but I worry about the overhead that it could create... I like the way Chrome's sync works because it's seamless and not resource heavy at all, it feels very natural.

vaximily said,
Sounds cool but I worry about the overhead that it could create... I like the way Chrome's sync works because it's seamless and not resource heavy at all, it feels very natural.

What overhead would an add-on that gets activated only when used create?

This is not a constantly active addon thus it makes no real difference to your experience.

Glendi said,
What overhead would an add-on that gets activated only when used create?

This is not a constantly active addon thus it makes no real difference to your experience.

It would seem to me that the addon is activated everytime a browser Window is opened or closing, thus increasing the load / unload time of the application as a whole. This may be minimal if implemented correctly, but I'm all about fast!

vaximily said,
Sounds cool but I worry about the overhead that it could create... I like the way Chrome's sync works because it's seamless and not resource heavy at all, it feels very natural.
I've been using it for a while now, and I've never noticed any performance issues, whatsoever. It installs and sets-up quickly, and tucks away in the background (status bar) beyond that.

Currently, it's one of the few things holding me back from using Chrome full-time.

vaximily said,

It would seem to me that the addon is activated everytime a browser Window is opened or closing, thus increasing the load / unload time of the application as a whole. This may be minimal if implemented correctly, but I'm all about fast!

Whats the point in "fast" if it slows productivity as a whole.

The time saved by this probably counteracts any negatives. Therefore this would be the "faster" option.