Mozilla Experiments With a Universal Content Reader

August 7th, 2008 at 12:00 am

snowl mozilla labs universal reader

Mozilla is changing the internet once again.  Firefox as we know is the darling of Web2.0 shooting past IE and Safari or Opera.  Now, Mozilla is looking beyond the capabilities of the browser and modifying into something more relevant to the spirit of the internet, interaction.

The main kind of interaction on the internet is happening via messaging.  Conversations are held in a lot of forms, E-mail, RSS, IM, SMS, Blogs, News, Social Networks, Forums and most recently Microblogging.  With all these types of messaging it’s becoming inconvenient to open multiple applications to browse through those messages.  So, the bright minds at Mozilla Labs thought of creating a Universal reader.  They’re calling the project, Snowl (snow owl, go figure).

The plan is, create a Firefox plugin that can aggregate all types of messages inside the browser. The key to making the whole thing work is in the presentation.  There are kinds of messages that are more important than others, messages that should be read immediately, read later or never read at all.  Snowl they claim will be able to classify these messages both intuitively (set by browser) and manually (set by user).

Snowl’s initial beta release is  a three paned viewer that classifies message sources by relevance.  Of course relevance is relative to the user so there should be some settings in the reader.  But don’t expect it just yet.  Snowl’s release is an experiment adn everybody using it is encouraged to debug, suggest and improve on the system.  It’s not a marketing ploy, it’s a simple plan to involve everyone and bring out the best from a universal reader.

So far, Snowl only supports RSS/Atom feeds and Twitter, the easiest to integrate.  AS they go along with the project, Snowl will be able to take messages from virtually any source, emails, IM’s and even SMS.  With those in mind, Snowl is also prepared to integrate a messaging app or widget so two-communication will be possible.

To find out more and try it out, check out the their official blog announcement.