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Firefox's Snowl Takes Direct Aim At Microsoft Internet Plans

Firefox has released the first iteration of an all-dancing, all encompassing messaging hub that combines twittering, RSS feeds, Facebook and IM into one nice little plugin called Snowl (Snow Owl).

Version 0.1 supports two sources of messages : RSS/Atom feeds and Twitter and provides with two interfaces to read them; the first one is the usual three-pane view (think Outlook or any email client) while the second is the "river of news".

Future versions of Snowl will include support for Facebook, AIM, Google Talk etc.

Now why should that bother Microsoft? Well, Mozilla is already looking at radically changing the way people use Firefox and by bringing together all the most popular conversation tools in one nice interface, could make Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger and even Outlook Express obsolete - all in one swoop.

This is especially true given that Mozilla may also bring in Thunderbird in the picture (remember Seamonkey?) with which Snowl shares quite a lot and ultimately become an application that lies on the right hand side of the browser and could even learn to prioritise messages based on the users' action.

Snowl could also compete with the likes of Friendster which also syndicate feeds that the user follows.

You can download the 144KB prototype (that's how Mozilla calls it) here.

Obviously the plugin comes with Caveat Emptor written all over it.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.