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This article was published on December 28, 2007

Mozilla versus Google, is Weave just the beginning?

Mozilla versus Google, is Weave just the beginning?
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

WeaveIn case you haven’t noticed yet, the early adopters are moving their workspace from the desktop to the browser. Sure, we all use Google Docs once in a while. But these guys have everything on-line, even their hard disk. Erwin Blom, a Dutch new media pioneer who brought the ‘2.0’in public broadcastings’ web, explains on his blog why he has his tools and documents on the web:

  • Always available, wherever he is, even in his favorite bar.
  • Always up to date. You don’t have to install or update, the owners of the web applications will deal with that.
  • Professional back-ups. Blom admits he’s too unorganized to back-up his stuff, so why not let the professionals take care of that important job?
  • Sharing & publishing, he wants to be able to publish his Twitterposts and blog articles from whatever place.
  • Cooperating, Blom calls it a ‘major advantage’ that you can work on documents together, without being in the same place.
  • Mobile, more and more of those web applications offer user friendly interfaces on mobile phones.

In the field of web applications, Google is dominating. They simply offer rather good services, that work together like a charm. Their greatest force though, is the address book. Whether you want to share a Google Doc, invite somebody for an appointment or tip a good article from a feed, all your contacts are easily available for your sharing-needs.

Google’s hegemony must be quite frustrating for browsers. Since the browsers are becoming more and more important, yet they don’t seem gain a lot of web applications users. With the shift to web applications, the number of users of software like Apple Mail, iCal and Outlook is drastically lowering. The browsers however, are getting used more. Need some more convincing material? Have a look at the most used software page of our friends from Wakoopa. Since the browsers are THE tools that matter now, it’s about time they show up to claim their part of the web applications pie.

For instance, why on earth is there a service like Bookmarking was a browser’s thing. Yet by creating the social factor, services like conquered that part of the market. Will the browsers ever be able to take it back?

That’s where Mozilla comes into play. They’ve just launched a prototype of Weave. The 0.1 version offers Firefox users the possibility to save browser related info, such as bookmarks, surf history and passwords and synchronize this info with different computers and mobile devices. The data is encrypted and saved on the servers of Mozilla, and can be accessed from computers all over the world.

Hello Google! Somebody wants compete with Browser Sync! And you, Delicious! You’re warned as well: in the 0.2 version – expected early 2008 – Weave will also go social.

Are these the first steps of a browser that wants to conquer with web applications, especially Google? Will the next step be a smashing good rss reader? Or a spectacular user friendly text processor? It looks like a mission impossible, yet users love the brand Firefox, and isn’t everybody a little afraid of Google, considering the privacy issues? And what if Microsoft joins the battle?

Mozila versus Google, hopefully it’s just the beginning.

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