A couple of weeks ago, Mozilla released Firefox 17, which added a social API to the browser so that developers could take advantage of integrating social networks and services into Firefox. Out of the box, Facebook integration was pretty basic. All it did was add buttons up top for settings, friend requests, chat notifications, and global notifications. This was handy but didn’t offer anything that third party extensions didn’t already.
Today, Mozilla released Facebook Messenger for Firefox, which is available to Firefox 17 users, right out of the box. All you have to do is visit this link and turn it on.
Let’s see what the new Facebook Messenger for Firefox is like.
If you were one of the early adopters of Firefox 17, the four buttons for Facebook are still there but now users will get a persistent column for the activity feed and buddy list. The column looks and works exactly like it does on the Facebook website. All Facebook activity will show up in your ticker. Your buddy list will show which friends are online and which ones are on their mobile phones. You can quickly search for a friend at the bottom.
What Facebook Messenger for Firefox adds to the chat experience is desktop notifications and sounds. The whole experience is like using a dedicated Facebook Messenger app, but baked into the browser. All of your chat windows will show up on top of whatever page you’re on. You can minimize them by clicking the top of each chat window or you can close them all together. It can be a bit frustrating when a link you want to click is obscured by a chat window that popped up. Notifications work well and aren’t intrusive.
Mozilla and Facebook have done a great job of integrating these two products, giving Firefox a social advantage over competitors like Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Are you going to use the new Facebook Messenger for Firefox or will you leave it disabled? Tell us why in the comments.