Mozilla Labs (makers of Firefox) are busy working on a new project called 'The Coop', which will "let users keep track of what their friends are doing online, and share new and interesting content with one or more of those friends." Essentially adding social networking technology to its Mozilla-based browsers.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? That's because the new project shares a similar vision to the VC funded 'Flock' browser, which, incidentally, is also built on top of Mozilla's code-base. Interestingly, some of ideas being explored by 'The Coop' appear to have been inspired by ex-Flock developer, Chris Messina's 'People in a Browser' concept.
More from Mozilla's project page:
Users will see their friends' faces, and by clicking on them will be able to get a list of that person's recently added Flickr photos, favourite YouTube videos, tagged websites, composed blog posts, updated Facebook status, etc. If a user wants to share something with a friend, they simply drag that thing onto their friend's face. When they receive something from a friend, that friend's face glows to get the user's attention.
This is exactly the kind of feature that Flock should have already built in. I'm not up-to-date with Flock's road map, but after so much promise (and hype) I've been disappointed with the progress that's been made. I'm the kind of user that would appreciate having my web browser more closely tied with social web services.
Fellow ZDNet blogger, Larry Dignan, considers what effect social networking moving to the browser will have on page views for those social networking sites which it will negate visiting.
Another interesting thread will be how this works for big social networking sites that depend on page view growth like MySpace. If I can track all my social contacts in my browser will I visit MySpace?
On the other hand, many users aren't tied to a specific PC and so won't have the choice of running a particular browser or installing various plug-ins -- instead they'll have to rely on a plain old browser and continue accessing social networking sites through the front door.