As Flock and RockMelt duke it out for social-networking addicts' attention, browser kingpin Mozilla quietly introduces a new add-on for Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail users. Called F1 and created by Mozilla Messaging, the division of Mozilla that manages the e-mail client Thunderbird, the secure and unobtrusive add-on provides fast sharing of URLs via a dedicated navigation bar button. It mimics one of the best features found in social-networking browsers without having to deal with hassle of switching browsers, although the add-on is definitely still a bit rough.
Once installed, F1 will create a button on the right side of the search box that looks like a comic book word balloon. Click it and the F1 interface appears to add accounts from Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. Type in a message to accompany the link you're sharing and then hit Share on the right. The Gmail option will also provide To and Subject fields.
The add-on currently supports only one iteration of each account, too. It works on Firefox 3.6 and later, but it does not re-map the F1 hot key from Help to opening the sharing drop-down box. Mozilla stated in the blog post announcing the add-on that one of its goals with F1 was to cut down on cluttered and potentially insecure sharing buttons that have become ubiquitous on Web pages, a task that sounds Sysiphean at best, although Mozilla has taken some steps to make using F1 easier. The add-on relies on services that support OAuth, and the open-source add-on has an extensive developer's wiki. F1 developers said that Yahoo Mail was left out of the initial release because it required an extra Captcha authentication on top of OAuth support.
Right now, F1 doesn't do much else. What it does do, though, it does well, so if you want to bring a little bit of social networking to your existing Firefox setup, this is a good add-on to use.