Mozilla Aims to Integrate Social Media and Email into One Inbox

    October 23, 2009
    Chris Crum

Mozilla has introduced a new inbox program called Raindrop. They refer to it as an "exploration in messaging innovation" to "explore new ways to use Open Web technologies to create useful, compelling messaging experiences." Sounds kind of like  what Google’s trying to do with Google Wave from that description doesn’t it? There is already talk that this may compete with it.

Mozilla Raindrop "When a friend’s link from YouTube or Flickr arrives, your messaging client should be able to show the video or photos near or as part of the message, rather than rudely kicking you over to a separate browser tab," says Mozilla. "Notifications from computers and mailing lists should be organized for you, not clutter your Inbox or require tedious manual filter setup. It should be easy to smoothly integrate new web services into your conversation viewer entirely using open web technologies."

Mozilla hopes to end this with Raindrop, which is aimed at spurring the development of applications that help users easily manage their conversations, notifications, and messages across a variety of online services. Right now, however, Raindrop is in a very early stage – version 0.1. Mozilla calls it a prototype, but one they hope will become both a customizable product and a platform for a variety of innovative messaging apps. Right now, it is not ready for everyday use.

Raindrop Software Components from Mozilla Messaging on Vimeo.

"In today’s world people use a combination of Twitter, IM, Skype, Facebook, Google Docs, Email, etc. to communicate," says the Raindrop development team. "For many of us this means that we have to keep an eye on an ever-growing number of places we might get new messages. As a result, we never know that we’ve actually processed all the important messages, because our email has been by noise which obscures the real messages from real people."

"Raindrop is an effort that starts by trying to understand today’s web of conversations, and aims to design an interface that helps people get a handle on their digital world," the team adds.

Mozilla has posted a set of guiding principles for Raindrop, which it says is an effort in promoting the values of the Mozilla Manifesto. These can be read here.

Mozilla says one of its first priorities is to make downloadable installers or setup a hosted installation that anyone can use to try out Raindrop. This would make it easier for non-developers to check it out.