Mozilla releases Snowl messaging extension

SnowlWith their new Snowl add-on, Mozilla want you to organize the flows of conversations you have on the web. The extension, which is only yet a  prototype, can still be downloaded and tested if you have a Mozilla Add-ons account. Once set up and your Firefox browser restarted you’ll be asked to configure Snowl. You can add as many RSS feeds as you want, import OPML files and access a Twitter account.

Snowl offers you two different views:  Message List and River of Messages, both accessible from the ‘View’ menu in Firefox. The River of Messages view is great for quickly browsing through multiple feeds and updating on news. Message List is more of a traditional mail client sort of view, with the list of new items at the top and a preview pane at the bottom. While RSS feeds are displayed in a classic way, I like how Snowl divides tweets by friend, although somehow not all of mine were displayed.

Over on the Mozilla Labs blog,  the developers of Snowl explain that the ultimate goal of the extension  is not only to display feeds, after all you can already do that in Firefox, but also to simplify how you engage in conversations. Yet I couldn’t find any option in the add-on that would allow me to interact, like by commenting on a post or twittering a piece of information. I’m a little surprised that Mozilla would have released the Snowl prototype so early. Wouldn’t it have been better to release it with at least some conversational features implemented? That might have spawned more useful feedback from users.

Anyways, if you follow a number of message groups, have a twitter account and like to engage in conversations, Snowl might just be the extension for you. Give it a try and make sure to let the Mozilla guys know what you think of it so they can improve it.

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