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Mozilla gets social bug with The Coop

Project is designed to create an add-on with which friends' avatars can share links and photos from Web services. Image: The Coop comes calling

The Mozilla Foundation's Labs has started a project to add social-networking features to the Firefox browser.

Called The Coop, the project aims to build a browser add-on that will let people share and receive links or other Web-delivered content, such as photos.

Project planners envision a row or column of boxes that contain their friends' photos, which could be pulled from an online photo-sharing service like Flickr.

The person will know that something has been sent when a friend's avatar or picture glows. Or a person can click on a friend's avatar to get his latest bookmarked Web pages, photos, blogs or movies.

"Perhaps the most common social interaction on the Web today is sending someone a link," the project's Web site notes. "The goal of The Coop is to ease this interaction and merge it with similar tools provided by a large number of popular Web services."

Like a chicken coop, each friend's avatar will have its own box, where it "lives."

Information could be transported between people's browsers either using RSS feeds or setting up an instant-messaging server, according to the project's Web site.

The project is now at a "proof of concept" phase, but Mozilla has already sketched out anticipated features such as letting someone drag a link onto a friend's image to share it.

Another browser designed around online social services like Yahoo's Delicious and Facebook is Flock, a Firefox-based product still in the beta-testing phase.