Few days back, Mozilla introduced a social API for Firefox which lets users use social sites and services inside Firefox, without having to keep them open in a separate browser tab. Firefox Social API, unlike browser add-ons, is a service which is available by default in Firefox 17.0, so you don’t have to install new software or browser add-ons to use the feature.
Now the good news is that you can enable social api in Firefox and add Facebook chat on Firefox’s sidebar, without having to install bulky addons or Facebook toolbars. This has several advantages. First, you get Facebook notifications in Firefox without having to keep it open in a dedicated browser tab. Second, you can read and reply to Facebook messages in Firefox without having to open the Facebbok website. Third, you get Facebbok notifications in desktop as well as in Firefox, that too, proactively.
What I really like about Facebbok sidebar for Firefox is that you can see the live preview of news feed right from Firefox and you can like and comment on posts really quickly.
But before you get to enjoy these features, you will have to activate Facebook’s social sidebar in Firefox. This is easily achieved with the following about:config hacks
1. First, update Firefox to its latest version (Firefox 17.0). To update Firefox, click “Firefox” and then choose “About” where Firefox will check whether an update is available or not. If an update is available, it will download the latest version and automatically install it.
2. When Firefox has been updated to its latest version, restart it, enter “about:config” in the address bar and hit “enter”. You will see the following warning message
3. Choose “I will be careful, I promise”.
4. In the next page, enter “social” in the search box and hit “Enter”. You will see a value namely, social.enabled, as seen in the following screenshot:
5. Double click it and change the value to “True” from “False”.
That’s it, you have just enabled social api integration in Firefox and immediatelty you should see Facebbok sidebar popping in from the right. Here is how it will look, when you have not signed into your Facebook account:
The rest of it is pretty easy, click Login and sign in to your Facebook account. Your Facebook notifications, messages, news feed , friend requests and other updates will be fetched right into Firefox and you can start using it right away. The best part – you can chat with Facebook friends without having to open Facebook at all. All the Facebook services will continue to work in the background, irrespetive of which website you are currently on.