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Your Firefox in the cloud: Firefox Sync and Firefox Home

June 17th, 2010

Firefox enables hundreds of millions of people all over the world to each have a Web experience that’s unique. They can make Firefox look and feel the way they want with Add-ons and Personas. And more importantly, Firefox becomes their trusted guide to the Web. It intelligently searches browsing history and bookmarks to help people get to their favorite sites with minimum effort using the “Awesome Bar”. Tabbed browsing allows people to efficiently work with multiple sites at the same time while Password Manager and automatic form fill help them quickly get things done.

But the world is changing. People access the Web from many devices, including their mobile phones. As people move through the day from their home computer to mobile phone to work computer and back again, the rich personalization provided by Firefox is sacrificed.

At the same time, faster networks, cheaper cloud storage, and more powerful hardware, especially on mobile devices, enable new possibilities.

Mozilla launched an exploration (the Weave project) into how multiple devices, connected through the cloud, could make the personal Web experience portable across multiple computers and devices, while providing unprecedented privacy protection. That exploration has resulted in a set of products, features and services that provide great user experiences and begin to create new possibilities for developers:

Firefox Sync (formerly Weave Sync) – Currently packaged as a free Firefox Add-on, Sync will be an integrated (opt-in, of course) feature of Firefox 4. It makes your bookmarks, history, Awesome Bar intelligence, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs accessible from Firefox running on other computers and mobile phones. And unlike cloud services that use your data to track your travels throughout the Web for ad targeting or other purposes, Firefox Sync encrypts all of your data before sending it to the server. This means you do not have to sacrifice any privacy or control while still getting the convenience of ubiquitous access to your data using Firefox Sync.

Firefox Home for iPhone – For users of Firefox Sync (don’t forget to install it on your computer today, so that you’re ready to go when Firefox Home for the iPhone arrives!), Firefox Home gives iPhone owners instant, secure access to the bookmarks and open tabs from Firefox on their computers, as well as a version of the Awesome Bar that quickly gets them to the right website. Firefox Home provides the comfort that comes from knowing you can quickly get to the information you need wherever you are. You’ve already done the work to find what you need on the Web. Why start all over again on your iPhone?

Developer API – Firefox Sync and Firefox Home are built upon open, simple and powerful REST APIs that you can use for your own applications. The User API enables account creation, authentication and other account-related actions. The Sync API handles data storage and retrieval. These APIs work hand-in-hand to provide a complete end-to-end synchronization service. All of our code is open source, including that for the server, which means you can even run your own servers if you want.

We’re building services that make the user experience more personal, portable and privacy-protected while providing developers with a platform and tools that are easy, effective and extensible. Join us by trying Firefox Sync today and by learning more about how to build upon our platform. For more information about Firefox Home, check out our progress, updates and FAQ here.