I’ve been using the Firefox 3 beta exclusively for about two weeks now and I’m very, very happy with it. It’s both faster (not surprising in a beta) and more stable (surprising in a beta). The only real issues I’ve had a couple of websites that have problems (the graphs at MonitorSite don’t appear, for instance) and a couple of plugins that don’t work. None of those are essential… except for Google Browser Sync.
GBS: The. Greatest. Plugin. Ever.
Automatic syncing of bookmarks, history, and (most conveniently) passwords and cookies is a godsend if you work on multiple computers. Combined with a little FolderShare magic1 to sync your plugins and settings and you rarely have to open a browser and see an unfamiliar interface again.
But GBS hasn’t been updated to work with Firefox 3. That, in itself, isn’t very surprising… it would make sense for a plugin developer to wait for at least RC1, especially since the new Places architecture for bookmarks and history would require a lot of changes in sync product. It’s more troubling that, despite much heated discussion, Google hasn’t even confirmed that they’re working on an update.
Maybe there won’t be a new GBS. Perhaps it was someone’s 20% time project, and that someone has since cashed out and moved to Amsterdam and stopped caring about browser plugins. Luckily, that doesn’t matter anymore, because now we have Weave.
Weave is going to be Google Browser Sync shot up with HGH… the Roger Clemens of plugins, minus the underage country singers2. The plan is to allow you to sync to any device, any browser, even any application, and more. Plus, it’s open source, so there’s no chance it’ll become popular and suddenly disappear.
Currently it’s not perfect. It only syncs bookmarks and history (with cookies in alpha and passwords in the planning stages), and it throws a lot of errors. But it does work, and on the first Weave conference bridge we learned the extent of the team’s short term goals:
Feature set being targeted for Weave 0.2 (June 2008):
* Streamlined first run and setup
* Real-time sync
* Additional data-types
- Tabs and Windows
- Saved Passwords
- Saved Form Data
- Search History
* Bookmark folder sharing between users
* Simple web-based interface for users to gain read-only access to their bookmarks
By next month it’ll do everything GBS did and a little bit more. Imagine what it’ll do by next year.
- Sometime soon I’ll share my own special way to sync browsers… I have to use a combo of FolderShare and SyncToy to avoid a few problems with FolderShare not wanting to sync open files. [↩]
- This is an assumption, of course. Underage country singers are not currently on the features roadmap. [↩]
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