With Firefox 23 Beta, Firefox Opens Social API to All

Amy Castor
Jul. 03 2013, 09:00AM EDT

If you are a social developer, you can now integrate your web service directly into the Firefox browser. With the introduction of Firefox 23 beta, Mozilla is opening its Social API to the public, the company announced in a blog post.

Social API makes it easy for developers to implement a sidebar directly into the Firefox toolbar without having to do a lot of extra coding. Those using the sidebars can then get notifications, updates and alerts immediately, without having to switch back and forth between tabs.

Social AP was introduced with Firefox 17 last year. Facebook was the first to use the API, doing so to build its Messenger into Firefox. With the release of Firefox 21, Mozilla expanded its list of Social API partners to include Cliqz, Mixi, msnNOW and Weibo.

Now Firefox 23 beta opens the door to Social API, so any and all social developers can take advantage of the API to create toolbars for their apps. Firefox 23 also adds a “share” button to Social API. Developers can use this feature to let users share content, such as news articles, images, videos or links, with friends and family directly from the Firefox toolbar.

A Firefox social sidebar, once created, is easy for a user to install. The msnNow sidebar for Firefox is a good example. Users can simply go to the plug-in’s webpage and click the “Turn it on” button. Once they do, a stream of trending topics appears on the right edge of the Firefox window. As with the Facebook toolbar, a chat bubble icon on the Firefox toolbar enables a user to change sidebar settings for desktop notifications or to disable the extension completely.

With the Social API open to the public, it should be interesting to see what other types of toolbars develop.

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