Firefox gets social
Yesterday Mozilla released Firefox 17, a new open source browser with a host of new user-facing features as well as enhanced security.
Arguably the most intriguing feature about the Firefox 17 is the much talked about and tested SocialAPI tool. This new SocialAPI device offers an innovative kind of integration ability for Firefox, allowing an extremely exciting user experience for social networking services. So far only Facebook has been integrated within the browser with other social networks like Twitter and Google+ likely to follow suit, perhaps in the next update.
Any fears that this new social tool from Mozilla will affect users privacy couldn’t be further from the truth as there is now a category of plugins branded as ‘click-to-play’ that only trigger after a user clicks. However, that isn’t all as with Firefox 17, there is now a blocklist for click-to-play that offers an extra coating of security for users.
Mozilla developer David Keeler said "By combining the safety of the blocklist with the flexibility of click-to-play, we now have an even more effective method of dealing with vulnerable or out-of-date plugins,". He continued "Instead of choosing between vulnerable but useful (by allowing an old plugin to run automatically) and safe but less useful (by completely disabling old plugins), click-to-play blocklisted plugins gives the user the ability to make an informed decision depending on their current activity."
Not content with introducing Firefox 17 to desktops alone, Mozilla is also expanding its mobile reach by releasing the open source browser onto phone handsets. Opening with the new Firefox for Android 17 release, Mozilla is currently supporting ARMv6 processors. Formerly Firefox for Android only supported ARMv7.
With this change Mozilla stated that "Given that roughly half of the nearly 500 million Android phones in use today run on ARMv6 architecture, this is an important step toward making the open Web free to all,"
It remains to be seen how this new social approach will affect users of Firefox, however with the web becoming a more social place and social signals being particularly important in SEO these days, it seems Firefox are trying to stay one step ahead of the game by integrating essential social elements into their latest browser release.