Mozilla Weave: Who owns the cloud?

From various sources comes the news that Mozilla is testing a prototype of a service called Weave, a kind of browser-to-cloud feature in which users can synchronize their bookmarks and other info from Firefox to a remote server somewhere — although most descriptions don’t really make it clear where these servers are located or who operates them. Will Mozilla be using Amazon’s S3, one of several cloud-computing services the online retailer has launched over the past year or so? That’s not clear.

It seems like everyone is moving in the direction of desktop-to-cloud synchronizing, or the blurring of borders between online and offline. Google has Google Gears, which lets you synchronize your Google Reader RSS feeds, and Zoho has synchronizing features for its online document-editing and spreadsheet tools (which Google will presumably be adding to its Google Docs services soon). Google has had a rudimentary bookmark-sync tool for awhile now, and Opera recently added one to its browser. Where will Mozilla’s Weave sit in this landscape of tools?

More importantly, are we going to have several competing standards for this kind of syncing, or is everyone going to agree to use open-source methods such as FOAF and OpenID and all that other semantic Web goodness? I would hope for the latter. If there’s anything worse than having to type the exact same personal info into half a dozen social networks, it’s having to replace all your bookmarks everytime you get a new machine. Synchronizing would be a huge boon — and Mozilla says it will be encrypting the data too, which is another plus.

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