Add-ons, which give you more functionality or perhaps just a new theme. In fact sometimes they give you a full-blown web app, like Yoono, BlogRovr or Trailfire. We've written about Firefox add-ons a number of times on Read/WriteWeb, so in this post we'll review some of the neat things you can do with Firefox add-ons.Firefox is a browser that can be extended and enhanced in many ways - chief among those being
Top 10 Firefox Web 2.0 Add-ons
Answers is an add-on that promises to "instantly deliver the information you are looking for".
The blueorganizer smart browsing extension for Firefox drives productivity by building smarts and semantics into the browser.
The del.icio.us extension for Firefox allows you to easily bookmark webpages in del.icio.us, from within the Firefox browser.
The StumbleUpon add-on is described as "collaborative surfing tool", because you can browse websites according to what other people recommend.
ClipMarks is an early pioneer in the clipping space. Users clip pieces out of web pages and share these bits with each other.
Google Notebook is very similar to Clipmarks, but has better Firefox integration.
FoxMarks Bookmark Synchronizer is an easy way to sync your Firefox bookmarks, if you use Firefox on more than one computer.
Sage is a basic and lightweight RSS Reader, although you need to be a techie to use it.
Wizz RSS is a fancier reader that works well. It supports OPML import and export, plus has advanced features like filtering news items on words and/or phrases.
Firefox Recommended Add-ons
- The FoxyTunes add-on integrates with your favorite music player and allows you to control the music you are listening to, right from within the Firefox status bar.
- Maps+ uses the Yahoo! Maps API to help the user look up addresses.
- The Foxmarks add-on is seemingly simple - it synchronizes your bookmarks between all your Firefox browsers.
- Yoono is a social recommendation engine for discovering interesting or related sites.
- GreaseMonkey is an add-on that lets technically savvy users customize the look and feel of web pages.
- Performancing add-on is a fully fledged blog editor built right into Firefox, which integrates with TypePad, Blogger, WordPress and LiveJournal (amongst others).
- FireFTP integrates FTP into Firefox
- ChatZilla integrates IRC into Firefox
- Download Statusbar helps you manage downloads right in the status bar
- FlashGot is another download productivity add-on
- Adblock Plus lets you do away with advertisements
- Pronto is comparison shopping add-on which alerts you to potential price savings
- Jaja wires telephony right into the browser
- LinkedIn integrates the popular professional social network into the browser
- Cooliris lets the user preview a page by hovering over links
Check Alex's post for the full list.
Interview with Mike Shaver, Mozilla Add-ons Guru
Read/WriteWeb interviewed Mike Shaver in February this year, on the eve of Mozilla launching an upgrade to its Add-Ons website. On the future of Add-ons, Mike said that add-ons are becoming more popular with non-technical users and that this is a key area of focus for Firefox add-ons. In February, Firefox had 80 Million users now; so it's important that add-ons can be easily used by all of that audience. At the time we spoke, more than 7 million Firefox users had add-ons installed on their browser.
Future of Add-ons: Firefox 3 as Information Broker
Mozilla designer Alex Faaborg has been writing and speaking about Firefox 3 using microformats and becoming an "information broker", by which he means associating semantically marked up data you encounter on the Web with specific applications. As we explained in January, this means that instead of using the entire product suite of a Google or an MSN or a Yahoo, you can instead use the particular apps you like most from not only big players - but small startups too. So say I use the 30Boxes online calendar - Firefox 3 would automagically transfer any (microformatted) events data I come across while browsing, into my 30Boxes account. And it could likewise put all my contacts into Gmail, locations into Yahoo Maps, phone numbers into Skype, etc.
This has implications for add-ons too. As Mike Shaver noted in our interview, as it evolves the browser's job will increasingly be to "represent the user on the Web and to bring the Web [to them] on the user's terms". Mike expects add-ons to utilize technologies such as web services and microformats; and also some add-ons will be brought into the core Firefox product. Overall he thinks that because Firefox is an extensible product, add-ons are a key part of its ongoing development.
What is your take on the world of Firefox add-ons? We'd love to know what add-ons you can't live without, and how you think add-ons will evolve.