Mozilla has announced Weave, which I think is the first true step by Mozilla to go beyond the browser.
One important area for exploration is the blending of the desktop and the Web through deeper integration of the browser with online services.
We’re now launching a new project within Mozilla Labs to formally explore this integration. This project will be known as Weave and it will focus on finding ways to enhance the Firefox user experience, increase user control over personal information, and provide new opportunities for developers to build innovative online experiences.
Weave stores users’ browser metadata so that it is accessible from multiple places. But in the long run it aims to be a framework for online services.
At least right now it is more about making the data portable. As Josh Catone points out, this brings the focus on open standards for data portability. This can be a point of testing point of integration of various open standards – right from identification to storage to syndication.
Weave will help Firefox play its role as a broker. It is not far off when many of us start thinking of using Weave for social applications. It will also be interesting to see if Mozilla goes the Amazon way, by offering its own infrastructure to others for a fee.
However, I am going to be a bit skeptical about its browsing function itself. Will Firefox be heavy for the layman? Will it be suitable for everyday browsing? Or will Firefox kill the concept of traditional browsing and come up with something new? Interesting thoughts for an year end!