Mozilla Dabbles in Social Networking

Mozilla Labs has begun work on a new feature called The Coop, aimed at adding social networking capabilities to the Firefox browser. The application could be used to share a variety of Web content.

In a blog post introducing the new project, Mozilla Labs' Mike Beltzner says developers wanted to create new ways for friends to share links, thus creating "The Coop."

The name comes from how a user's set of data on his or her friends would "live" in the application, similar to how chickens nest in a coop. Through it, a user will be able to track what pictures, movies, blog entries and status information their friends are posting on various sites.

Several mockups of a possible design have been floated, but one makes a user's picture glow when new content is posted. From there, the friend is able to click and see what's new.

"What is surprising is how little [social networking] functionality has made it into today's web browsers," Beltzner says. "The result is that when people think of tools for social interaction, email and instant messenger are at the top of their list, not web browsers."

Users will be able to drag and drop information into their coop, as well have it automatically pulled from the RSS feeds of the user's data from various sites, including Flickr, del.icio.us, MySpace, and YouTube among others.

The Coop's features seem very similar to that of Flock, a privately-funded venture to combine social networking with a Mozilla-based browser. In fact, one of the developers working on the project came from the start-up.

"This is not good news for [Flock], which has yet to release a 1.0 version of its browser," Michael Arrington wrote for TechCrunch. "Many of the proposed features and some of the mockups created by Mike Beltzner suggest a significant overlap in the two products."

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