Mozilla is making it official, it's now announcing that the Facebook Messenger experiment is live for Firefox Beta users. The app was available over the weekend and Firefox Beta and Aurora users could have started using it already, but Mozilla only now announced it.
"For the last few months we’ve been building the Social API – a way to allow you to plug your favorite social sites into Firefox – and we are ready to start our first Social API test with Facebook Messenger for Firefox," Mozilla wrote in its announcement.
"We’re really excited about it and need your help testing the feature to make it better as we get ready to release to all Firefox users," it said.
The feature has been available, if you knew where to look, for a few days, but it should be much more visible now. By default, if you're running Firefox 17 Beta or Firefox 18 Aurora and visit Facebook, you could be invited to install Facebook Messenger for Firefox.
If you don't want to leave things to chance, you can visit Facebook's Messenger for Firefox page and turn it on in your browser.
If you do enable it, everything should be familiar, the friends list is identical to the one on the site, the chat window too.
In case you're wondering, you're not logged into chat by default, you have to enable it and you can disable chat or make yourself invisible without "turning off" the entire Facebook Messenger.
Overall, the entire experience should be completely familiar to most people. The difference is, of course, that you're connected to Facebook all the time.
You see new messages as soon as they arrive, as well as get activity notifications almost in real-time. You don't have to keep a tab open, that you switch back and forth to, Messenger is always there in the sidebar. You can, of course, hide the sidebar or log out of Messenger at any time.
The Social API, which enables Facebook Messenger for Firefox, is designed to support any type of social site. Twitter, Gmail, even a news app could be built on top of it. Mozilla envisions the Social API being used for anything from email to music listening. The Facebook integration is just one small step.
There's another layer to all of this, Mozilla has been careful to protect your privacy, while enabling you to enjoy the benefits of always being connected.