Friendbar updates from your toolbar

Mozilla Firefox add-on, Friendbar, streams Twitter and Facebook updates from your toolbar.

Staying up-to-date on all of your friends' Facebook and Twitter musings can take a considerable chunk of your online time. Mozilla Firefox add-on Friendbar streams news feed updates and tweets from your browser toolbar, keeping you socially connected when you are surfing the Web. Though Friendbar has an easy-to-follow user interface, it falls short with some nonpractical repetitiveness.

After restarting your browser, Friendbar will be visible in your toolbar. To begin using the extension, sign in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts using the log-in buttons on the right-hand corner of the toolbar. Friendbar will instantly start streaming posts from your friends. Customizing what shows up in Friendbar is made easy by clicking the View tab; here you can select whether you see text only, photos, direct messages, replies, or everything all in one place. You can also toggle the toolbar's size, icons, and how many updates it streams from the Settings tab.

With Friendbar, you can reply to your friends' posts straight from your toolbar no matter which Web site you are viewing at the moment. With each update that shows up, an "F" or "T" icon will show up on the user's picture so you know exactly where the post is coming from. However, at times it is uncertain whether Facebook posts are directed at you, at another person, or simply a news feed post.

The heart-shaped icon is a "quick post" option. Clicking the icon will post a phrase, which is customizable through the Settings tab, to your Facebook or Twitter account. Though this may be useful if you tend to post the same thing repeatedly, Friendbar automatically inserts "Friendbar - The Twitter and Facebook Toolbar" into the post; thankfully you can delete this. Double-clicking the dice icon will open a new tab containing a "site that is popular today." The "birthday hat" icon implies that it will show a list of your Facebook friends' upcoming birthdays. However, after testing the add-on, we noticed that this function is inaccurate; for example, it only shows one birthday, which is a week away when there are clearly more daily birthdays on the Facebook homepage.

Friendbar is a great tool for social multitasking. Running through the posts is made easy with forward/back arrows and an exit button. The problem is that the add-on becomes frustratingly repetitive; even when you exit out of an update, the post will show up in the bar minutes later. With its bubbly and animated looks, Friendbar is a fun and simple way to stay socially informed; however, do not solely depend on it. It can be repetitive by showing some posts repeatedly while ignoring others. Friendbar may also be confusing by not displaying for whom posts are intended.

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