Firefox 17 is here and with it Facebook takes another step towards dominating every aspect of your online life. Firefox 17 is the first stable release to come with support for Mozilla's Social API enabled by default.
The Social API enables web apps to integrate with the browser in deep ways, making it possible to keep up with what your friends are doing on Facebook, your new messages in Gmail and so on, without actually visiting those sites.
There are countless extensions and add-ons that add a Gmail notification button or a shortcut to Facebook, but the social API builds these services into the browser.
"As services integrate with Firefox via the Social API sidebar, it will be easy for you to keep up with friends and family without having to switch between or open new tabs," Mozilla explains.
"You can stay connected to your favorite social site even while you are surfing the Web, watching a video or playing a game," it adds.
While the Social API is open, or will be once it's ready, it's an API after all, and anyone can use it, Facebook Messenger for Firefox is the first and, so far, only official app to make use of it.
As such, that's what Mozilla is talking about. The Facebook Messenger for Firefox was introduced a month ago and Firefox beta users have been able to take it for a spin since then.
To enable the feature, you have to visit the dedicated Facebook page here and click on the "Turn On" button.
"Once you enable the feature, you’ll get a social sidebar with your Facebook chat and updates, like new comments and photo tags. You’ll also get notifications for messages, friend requests and more that you can respond to right from your Firefox toolbar," Mozilla also explained.
You can expect more Social API apps to show up soon, Twitter, Gmail are sure bets and once the API is ready, you can expect a lot more apps to make use of it.