WebPod: Persistent Web Browsing Sessions with Pocketable Storage Devices

Shaya Potter, Jason Nieh

Proceedings of the 14th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2005), Chiba, Japan, May 10-14, 2005, pp. 603-612

Abstract

We present WebPod, a portable system that enables mobile users to use the same persistent, personalized web brows- ing session on any Internet-enabled device. No matter what computer is being used, WebPod provides a consistent brows- ing session, maintaining all of a user’s plugins, bookmarks, browser web content, open browser windows, and browser configuration options and preferences. This is achieved by leveraging rapid improvements in capacity, cost, and size of portable storage devices. WebPod provides a virtualiza- tion and checkpoint/restart mechanism that decouples the browsing environment from the host, enabling web browsing sessions to be suspended to portable storage, carried around, and resumed from the storage device on another computer. WebPod virtualization also isolates web browsing sessions from the host, protecting the browsing privacy of the user and preventing malicious web content from damaging the host. We have implemented a Linux WebPod prototype and demonstrate its ability to quickly suspend and resume web browsing sessions, enabling a seamless web browsing expe- rience for mobile users as they move among computers.

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Columbia University Department of Computer Science