The Social API first arrived in Firefox 17 back in November 2012. Mozilla says it developed the feature “to enable social services and providers to integrate directly into Firefox to make users browsing experience more social, customizable and personal.” In other words, the integration lets you keep up with the latest social happenings without having to switch between, or open new, tabs.
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Mozilla’s first partner in its social endeavor was Facebook, not just because it’s the world’s largest social network, but also because the company helped flesh out the API. Ever since December 2012, when the two officially flipped the switch, Firefox users have been able to send Facebook messages right from the browser, no matter what site they’re on; as my colleague Ken Yeung put it, “you could be on Twitter and still send Facebook messages.”
The API features a social sidebar but also toolbar notification buttons: Mozilla insists that despite its name, it doesn’t have to be used just for social sites. Instead, the organization wants companies to leverage the API for anything that requires real-time notifications, such as sports scores, finance, news, email, and so on.
Today’s partners reflect that. While Mixi and Weibo are social networks in Asia, MSN Now and Cliqz are focused on delivering news.
The Firefox Nightly channel, as its name implies, is automatically updated each night: the builds are meant only for developers interested in helping out the company test new and experimental features. It’s thus too early to make a case if these providers will be useful to Firefox users, but it’s still great to see Mozilla expanding its partners’ list.
Firefox Nightly is currently on version 23, which is set to hit the stable channel in August. A lot can change between now and then.
Update: Firefox Nightly has also received the baseline compiler; read more about it here.
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