The wait is over, and a much-needed new tool for advanced browser synchronization is finally here.
Since word broke that Google would not upgrade its Browser Sync utility for Firefox 3 and would discontinue the service altogether at the end of 2008, users of multiple computers have been searching for an alternative solution. Programs like Foxmarks let you sync up your bookmarks across multiple systems but lack support for powerful Browser Sync features such as synchronized browsing history, cookies, and saved password/form data.
Now enter the new Mozilla Weave 0.2. The updated utility basically picks up where Browser Sync left off. It boasts support for bookmarks, browsing history, cookies, saved passwords, saved form data, and even the ability to sync up any browser tabs you left open on any given computer. It also one-ups its predecessor with a new “intelligent scheduler” that lets you control when and how often the data synchronization process takes place.
Much like Browser Sync was with Google, the fact that Weave is developed directly by Mozilla eases any concerns over data security or privacy. The program uses end-to-end encryption and secures client-side data with the same crypto library used by Firefox itself.
Weave is, in fact, the top option recommended by Google for Browser Sync users seeking out a replacement — and now that the heavily revamped new version is available, the switch can finally be made. This is the first major update to the program, by the way, since its initial release in December 2007.
Interestingly as well, Google has now posted the full Browser Sync code with the hopes that “someone will use it to develop something cool.” The idea is solid, but with the amount of personal information handled by this kind of service, I’m quite content to stick with Weave and to know Mozilla is the only place dealing with my data.
Weave gets my vote — and my thanks for letting me finally make the upgrade to Firefox 3.