Recently, I've been playing around with a new extension to Firefox called The Coop.
Scratch that. I can't really call it a new extension. I can't even call it beta or alpha. What I have on my Firefox browser is a prototype of Coop that I loaded from the bleeding-edge sandbox area of Mozilla add-ons.
Click the thumbnails for full-sized screens
What Coop does for Firefox, or at least what it aims to do, is integrate social networking directly into the browser experience. Friends and connections in your social network appear in the Firefox sidebar and users of Coop can easily share Web pages, images and video with their friends.
In my tests of the prototype I found Coop to be very easy to use, and for a prototype it has proven to be very stable. Right now the only social network that it integrates with is Facebook. When I bring up the Coop sidebar I see my friends, if they have shared any content with me, and if I click on their images I see the specific content they've shared.
Right now that's just about it for the functionality of Coop. The plan, according to the Mozilla blogs and project pages, is that Coop will support multiple social networks and group Web sites. I was also glad to see that they are discussing supporting the FOAF (Friends of a Friend) format. I'm also hoping that there will be some fine-grained control over how friends are displayed in the sidebar. Right now it appears to be based on how long they've been friends, but I'm hoping it can be based on other criteria, such as recent activity.
One group that should be worried about Coop (along with several other social networking and Web 2.0-oriented Firefox extensions) is the people behind the Firefox-based Flock browser. It's been out for a while now without reaching 1.0 status, and more and more of its unique features are finding their way into Firefox extensions and even into the upcoming Firefox 3.0.