In an effort to bring Firefox users closer together, Mozilla has released a conceptual design dubbed "Coop" that would give Firefox the ability to share "photos, news stories, links" with other users, reports Computerworld. Mozilla of course, says that this is purely conceptual, and that this is as far as they are going to take the Coop project (for now).

It would actually be a good idea, for a couple of reasons. Social networking is quite "the thing" now, especially considering the popularity of sites such as MySpace, and it's not too much of a stretch to say that many of these users would like to have similar features built into their browser, giving a more streamlined interface and one that is customizable to suit their needs.

Secondly, Firefox is in need of fresh ideas/features, in my opinion. They're constantly competing against Internet Explorer, and their previous claim against it was that they had tabbed browsing, IE didn't. Microsoft has leveled the playing field however, by releasing version 7 of their web browser, giving it equal if not more capability as the Firefox browser. I don't know, but Firefox doesn't seem as special as it once did.

It will definitely be interesting to see if Mozilla does anything with this idea when they begin designing future versions of Firefox, and will probably be partly influenced by the popularity of social networking at the time when they do consider such an idea in the browser. Of course, people talking is never going to grow old, so I'd say it's pretty safe to add something like that to Firefox.

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I don't think a browser is a place for integrating social networking. That's just MHO, but it doesn't fit. The reason I don't use Opera is because they have too many integrated features. Firefox's balance between a simple browser, yet customizability with add-ons is very nice.

As to this particular social networking concept, I don't think it would be as successful as, say, Myspace or Facebook. I'm assuming that the browser concept would limit your 'account' to a single box (or at least, you'd have to configure other machines individually). A web-based site has the advantage that it will maintain state, if you will, between user sessions, whether the user logs on to a private or public computer.

I am glad that the folks at Mozilla are still trying to improve the web experience though.

My $.02 ;)

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