Firefox Social API: 2 years in, what next?

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Session Topic: Firefox Social API 2 years in, what next

Wednesday 1H

Convener: Christopher Arnold

Notes-taker: Christopher Arnold

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

Two years ago Mozilla pioneered a new extension-less API for quick customizations of Firefox. Termed Social API, the platform allows services to socket in chrome-level notifications (Push to user), share actions (Push from user), Save-to-cloud, News and Activity Tickers.

The platform has gained broad support from companies that each define their own user engagement model. (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr, Delicious, Pocket, Cliqz, Goal.com, Odnoklassniki, Mixi, Weibo, Sphere, Vkontakte, Saavn, Zimbra)

Benefits of software-less browser customizations are:

  • Different services can't conflict with each other in the browser, therefore they cannot cause performance issues.
  • Speeds the flow of engagement as the services can activate on their own domains without bouncing users over to a marketplace for download.
  • Minimizes weight on the browser.
  • Speeds engagement with a service by allowing a chrome-level access point.
  • Lessens phishing risk if users reduce habitual download willingness.
  • Places control of communications between the web services and their end users directly with no intermediary.

What this is not:

  • Doesn't replace all use cases that extension developers have coded.
  • Doesn't permit any service to have surveillance of other activities in the browser.
  • Not standardized yet. Currently this is only a Firefox initiative. But the manifests are public and can be adopted by other browsers easily.

Try current services here: http://activations.mozilla.org/

Documentation on the platform is here: http://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Projects/Social_API