Friday, November 12, 2010

F1- mozilla's answer to social browsers

 Nearly all websites nowadays have handy links which allow you to share the page you are browsing with the members of your social circle. Since there are numerous such social networks available, the websites end up either displaying an array of such links on each page, or by disregarding some of the smaller networks.

Often this small task of sharing a link of one page in a service of your choice requires you to authorize the particular website to make the post on your behalf. Why should it be so?

Mozilla's new Labs initiative called F1 intends to make sharing content part of the browser, since it is becoming an increasingly important paradigm on the web.  Given that nearly all website include some of the other functionality to share content, doesn't it make sense that this functionality be built into the browser itself? Most people should feel much safer having their browser linked to their social services rather than each site they visit.

Mozilla's new extension is an experiment in this direction. Currently the extension supports Facebook, Twitter and GMail. Contrary to what you might think, the GMail sharing service doesn't use the Buzz service built into GMail, but instead initiates an email conversation using GMail. Eventually Mozilla Messaging, the creators of this add-on, intend to support significantly more services including email services.

Once you have the extension installed, you can click on share button, select the service you wish to share the link on, and share away. Sine the feature is built into the browser, you can chose to only list the services that you use instead of each and every service that the visitors of a particular site use.

There have been browser which have implemented social networking features as part of the browser, for example, Flock, and the recently unveiled RockMeIt, however Mozilla has gone beyond just adding an extension. They have also created a new experimental API for sharing links which they hope becomes a standard. The API is currently usable as:

navigator.mozilla.labs.share({'title':'this is a test!',
    'url': '',

If an API for sharing becomes a standard, one could visit a website, and simply click on one singular share button to access all their pre-configured sharing services instead a plethora of links to select from.