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Sharing in Firefox

Most of us like to share things with people that we know. This is one reason that flickr, facebook, and twitter became so popular. Sharing is huge. It’s likely that if you’ve used the internet, you have shared something with someone. Many of us share different things through many different networks. This can be quite a pain. There are many add-ons that tackle this very issue. However, the browser can make sharing easier by integrating sharing into the browser. If we know what social networks you use, by what passwords you’ve saved in Firefox, it should be pretty easy to enable sharing in Firefox.

In looking at this problem I’ve come up with the following design:

A user should be able to simply right-click an image, video, or link and then click Share. From here a nice overlay should appear with a preview of the thing to be sent, a URL auto filled into a text area, an area to add more information (comment, text, etc), a way to choose what service to use, and a way to share the item with only particular people.

I’ve created some mock-ups to show how this feature might work. Furthermore, I researched what social services I think Firefox should support when first implementing this feature.

A page with an image the user wants to share
user right clicks image
user selects "share image"
an overlay appears with a preview of the image and the url autofilled
a user can add their own text if desired
users can select a service with which to share
character counts could appear if Twitter is selected
users can choose to share privately with certain individuals
selecting particular people with which to share using Gmail
inline autocomplete for Twitter sharing

With sharing enabled directly by the browser people can more easily share images, videos, and links with a variety of social networks or with particular people. Furthermore, by integrating sharing directly into the browser users are never taken out of their flow or interrupted by moving between different websites and services.

Want to help make Firefox better? Why not contribute and help add this feature. Bug #: 586780

Leave a comment

  1. Is this really gonna happen? It’s one thing to have a universal API standard for the ‘Account Manager’, how would you manage a multitude of services and their APIs from a browser point of view and keep it working throughout the lifecycle?

  2. Tweets that mention John Wayne Hill : Blog – Sharing in Firefox --
  3. The Firebird/Thunderbird Contacts extension has a nice config page where you enable and disable connections to various social sites. I hope this feature can reuse that style of UI and maybe its code.

    Your example image link is more garbage. I hope the feature won’t “help” by fabricating a shortened link. Facebook updates don’t need crap and most links fit just fine in Twitter. It’s confusing and hostile to present a link to someone that obfuscates where it goes, and filling communications with transient links that stop working is the biggest step backwards since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web.

    1. @skierpage I think you make a valid point about using shortened links. I guess that I use them so much that I didn’t think about how there might not be a need for them. Thanks for the comment and sorry for the bad example.

  4. That would be nice… except that 1) I don’t allow my browser to save ANY passwords and 2) I don’t use the vast majority of social networks. Why should my browser be bloated with support for Facebook and Twitter, which I’ll never use? Not to mention these private services might simply go away tomorrow.

    No, supporting social networks is the job of plugins. Sorry.

  5. This sounds like the sort of thing that would be awesome in an extension – makes it easier to update in the field, since having the ability to support a mixture of ever-changing social websites can be hard to match to release cycles. Might want to consider shipping it by default, TestPilot-for-Firefox-4-beta style.

    It would probably be useful to look at what Flock did, of course; you probably have done that already.

  6. What about sharing on multiple services at the same time? I.e. you want to post to Twitter and Facebook?

    Also, I thought of one use case that I think would be helpful (for me at least). The user finds a map of bus routes but needs to go right now to catch the bus. They right click, select share. Then they select share with my phone. Then, using Firefox Sync, the tab is opened up on their phone.

    Great mockups. Love the direction!

  7. Seems a bit irresponsible to be encouraging sharing of the very elements on a page that are most likely to be subject to copyright restrictions. Until you can figure out the copyright (e.g. by looking into the media’s metadata if it has any), and honour those requirements while sharing (or not sharing, depending on what the creator wants to allow), this is a bad move for content creators IMHO.

  8. This “feature” has somehow creeped into my firefox, now there is a stupid box that expands itself when mouse goes over it and urges me to share pictures to everyone in tweeter facebook and god knows what more.
    I have no tweeter, facebook, and i will never ever get one of those accounts.
    How can i disable that nagging box?

  9. Copyright concerns should not be an issue as the bulk of things on the internet is shareable with or without consent already.

    There are tons of picture, music and various file sharing sites and services which hundreds of millions of people use on a daily basis. The only thing this sharing integration does is eliminate a few steps to actually get it done.

    While I’m not a fan of the social integration since I don’t use such sites, I’m not petty enough to to claim that this is considered bloat when these types of sites are extremely popular and dominate a hefty bulk of the web landscape throughout the world.