New Firefox gets social, brings beta Marketplace to desktop

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Credit: David Meyer

Mozilla has released Firefox 35, which brings with it the enhancements to the Firefox Hello video-calling feature that I wrote about when they were in beta.

Firefox 35 also introduces a social sharing feature, making it easy to post a link to a webpage to a service such as [company]Facebook[/company] or [company]Twitter[/company], or to email it to a contact. This is similar to what Opera has been doing recently, and it’s interesting to see how the big Chrome rivals (let’s leave Internet Explorer out of it for now) are adding more features in a way that doesn’t necessarily make them look bloated in comparison to [company]Google[/company]’s streamlined browser.

Here’s how the right side of my Firefox toolbar looks now – there’s a good deal of functionality in there (the 1Password icon is the only third-party one) but it’s still tasteful and unobtrusive, at least to my eyes:

Firefox toolbar

To quickly recap the new Firefox Hello features, it’s now easier to set up an ad-hoc, anonymous call and to create a URL for such a call that can be repeatedly revisited by the participants – making it a bit like a virtual meeting room.

In a Tuesday blog post, Mozilla also said that it and its telco partner, Telefonica, aim to add new features to the WebRTC-based Firefox Hello such as screen-sharing and online collaboration – all from within the browser.

A more general blog post about Firefox 35 also noted that the Firefox Marketplace is now available for beta testing on the desktop. Firefox already has an add-on search facility, of course, but this is more like the Chrome Web Store, featuring a range of web apps.

The Firefox Marketplace is already available on mobile, and indeed it is effectively the app store for those with Firefox OS phones – the apps are all HTML5. So, by bringing it to the desktop, Mozilla is bringing its mobile and desktop efforts closer together.

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