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Mozilla wants social media integrated into Firefox 17

Everyone's talking about the recent release of Firefox 16, but Mozilla's prepping a way for the web to get even more social come the eventual launch of Firefox 17.

According to the company, Firefox Beta (that's the beta version of Firefox 17) will incorporate a new "Social API" — allowing developers to, "integrate social services into the browser in a way that is meaningful and helpful to users," writes Mozilla.

"As services integrate with Firefox via the Social API sidebar, it will be easy for you to keep up with friends and family anywhere you go on the Web without having to open a new Web page or switch between tabs. You can stay connected to your favorite social network even while you are surfing the Web, watching a video or playing a game," describes the company.

Facebook's serving as one of the first test subjects for Mozilla's social ambitions, as the company plans to work the Facebook Messaging service into the Mozilla browser by way of the API. In theory - and similar to Mozilla's older "Firefox Share" feature - it will allow users to send and receive Facebook messages without actually having to be on Facebook's main site.

Ultimately, however, Mozilla's aims are a bit broader than just dumping Twitter, or a Facebook news feed, into a sidebar within Firefox. The company envisions a future where developers will be able to integrate email, financial information, daily news, and other applications into the browser as a result of its Social API.

If Mozilla's plans sound familiar, it's because they're a bit of a head nod to older social-centric browsers like Flock which, at one time, jumped between using Firefox and Google's Chrome as a base for its bevy of social add-ons. Flock aficionados could access Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube via a built-in sidebar, giving them the opportunity to post updates, watch media, and enjoy a livestream of their friends' lives while simultaneously surfing the web. Additionally, Flock incorporated a feature similar to Firefox Share, where users could easily send links to Facebook or Twitter via a button directly within the browser itself.

With Flock currently in, 'The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated' mode - in other words, it's coming back, but there's no indication as to when or in what format - it looks like Firefox is going to be the next browser to carry the social flag forward on the web. It'll be interesting to see how Mozilla manages to balance features and information with user-friendliness and a desire to have a clean, clutter-free UI.