As you may have noticed, messaging is pretty popular these days. An obvious place to read and send messages is the browser, the obvious way to do that is with a Firefox extension. Enter Snowl:
It’s a prototype Firefox extension that integrates messaging into the browser based on a few key ideas:
1.It doesn’t matter where messages originate. They’re alike, whether they come from traditional email servers, RSS/Atom feeds, web discussion forums, social networks, or other sources.
2.Some messages are more important than others, and the best interface for actively reading important messages is different from the best one for casually browsing unimportant ones.
3.A search-based interface for message retrieval is more powerful and easier to use than one that makes you organize your messages first to find them later.
4.Browser functionality for navigating web content, like tabs, bookmarks, and history, also works well for navigating messages.
Snowl 0.1 was released last year; version 0.2 has just come out, and it's got a feature that will probably make it very popular with a certain sad class of individual that spends far too much time on Twitter (er, like me):
This version of the messaging-in-the-browser experiment builds on the first release with an updated river view, a new stream view for keeping track of messages in a sidebar while you do other things, the ability to send tweets, and support for multiple Twitter accounts.
The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts is actually a key feature for corporate use of Twitter. Although it's still early days, it's likely that it will soon become common for companies to use multiple Twitter identities to create highly-targetted micro-blogs. Being able to monitor them all from a single window is a real boon. Snowl won't be the only solution, but it's good to see Mozilla Labs getting into this space early.