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Operating Systems

Firefox add-on maps the sites you visit

Shazou, whose clickable icon lives on the bottom-right corner of the browser window, plots the location of a site's server on a pan-and-zoom map, complete with satellite and street views.

Last May, I described the CallingID add-on for the Mozilla Firefox browser. It lets users see at a glance the address or location of the server hosting the site their visiting, and it even offers a color-coded security rating.

Unfortunately, the add-on doesn't work with Firefox 3, and the vendor's site doesn't offer any information on or help with this problem.

While looking for a solution to the CallingID glitch, I discovered Shazou, a Firefox add-on created by Chuck Durham at Seisan that goes one step further by showing the location of the site's server on a map that pops up when you click its icon in the bottom-right corner of the browser window.

Shazou mapping add-on for Firefox
The Shazou add-on for Firefox shows the location of the current site's server on a map. Seisan

Click either the "GeoIP: Server Location" or "WhoIs: Domain Owner" buttons to show this information in a small pop-up. The locations are also shown via icons on the map that Shazou generates. You can pan the map, or zoom it in and out (which is a handy feature for when the server and registrant are not located near each other) or switch to either a satellite view or a hybrid combining satellite and street views.

The add-on throws in a Submit as Phishing Site button, but when you click this, you see a pop-up window saying only "Submission Successful--Thank You." I couldn't find any information on the vendor's site about what happens to these submissions. I also noticed on the download page that the add-on appears not to work with the most recent versions of Firefox 3, though it worked OK for me.

Shazou can't match the CallingID toolbar's ability to show the domain registrant's location at a glance, nor do users get a color-coded indication of the site's security rating. What users do get is a series of Google ads at the bottom of the map, but the ads are unobtrusive.

Still, I like being able to find the location of the sites with which I do business. I also have a soft spot for maps, so Shazou's combination of the two works well enough for me, at least until CallingID starts working again.