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Firefox integrates Facebook with latest Web browser update
[November 20, 2012]

Firefox integrates Facebook with latest Web browser update

Nov 20, 2012 (Los Angeles Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Mozilla's latest update of its Firefox Web browser, released Tuesday, includes a new feature that allows users to access Facebook directly from the browser.

The feature is called Facebook Messenger for Firefox, and it brings two key Facebook features into the Mozilla browser: notifications and instant messaging.

If you decide to turn the feature on, which you can do by going here, four Facebook icons appear at the top right of your browser. They include the buttons for friend requests, message alerts and notifications. And just as they do on the website, the icons light up and show red alerts whenever you receive new requests, messages or notifications.

To their left is a button that looks like the Facebook logo. That button has the settings for the feature as well as a shortcut to your profile.

Directly below the icons is a chat sidebar that shows your friends' activity as it happens, and below that, a list of your online friends. If you click on any of them, a chat window opens to the left. The sidebar and chat windows stay open on top of your browser no matter what website you go to.

The idea is to keep you connected to Facebook whenever you're on the Web.

"We tried to make the experience for users who interact with social media just a lot easier and more seamless," Mozilla's Todd Simpson, chief of innovation, told The Times.

Firefox is not the first browser to integrate Facebook features. That distinction belongs to Rockmelt, a social-media browser that has been around since 2010.

Simpson said there are similarities between the latest version of Firefox and Rockmelt, but he said Firefox is different because it will allow users to choose what social network they integrate with their browser.

With the latest Firefox version, Mozilla has added tools that social networks and websites can tap to integrate their features and services into the browser.

Simpson equated adding the option to what Firefox did in its early days when it added the search bar. Back then, search was all the craze, and now, social is.

"As our behavior changes, we try to watch that and make the users' experiences great," Simpson said.

If you enable the Facebook Messenger for Firefox but then decide not to use it, you can turn it off easily by clicking on the Facebook icon at the top right of the browser and selecting "Remove from Firefox." ___ (c)2012 the Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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