Last November, Mozilla announced that it had worked with Facebook to launch a first preview of its Social API for Firefox by integrating Facebook Messenger into Firefox 17. The Social API allows social networks, blog networks or news sites to easily add persistent social sidebars, toolbar notifications and chat features to the browser, no matter which site a user is looking at. At the time, Mozilla wasn’t quite ready to announce any additional partners for this API. But today the organization announced that it will soon expand this effort with additional services in Firefox Nightly, including Japanese social network Mixi, Microsoft’s MSN Now, new site, CliqZ and the Chinese microblogging service Weibo.
“We are really excited about the possibilities that Social API brings to the future of browsing, including ways to integrate even more social providers, e-mail, finance, news and other applications and services into your Firefox experience,” Mozilla writes in today’s announcement.
When Mozilla launched the Facebook Messenger integration, Mozilla’s VP of Firefox Engineering Jonathan Nightingale told me that the organization wanted to see how it could marry the trend toward more social experiences on the web with the browser. Firefox’s App Tabs were a first attempt to solve this, but, as Nightingale told me, “people still had to work around the limitations of browsers because they were treating social just like any other sites.”
The current Facebook Messenger integration is pretty straightforward and adds a set of Messenger buttons to the toolbar and pops up a sidebar to start chats (see image above). Last November, the Firefox team wasn’t sure how to integrate more than one service yet, but that obviously wasn’t an issue at the time, given that only Facebook Messenger was integrated in the service so far. It’s not clear how the Firefox team has solved this issue, but we’ll surely see the solution once these new providers go live in one of the next Firefox Nightly releases.