The Future of Messaging

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The web has incredible potential to improve our lives even more than it already has.  I believe that nowhere else is this more true than in the space of personal communications.

Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, today announced that Mozilla will be increasing our focus on messaging and communications on the web.  As part of this, here are some of the steps that we are taking.

We’re going to be consolidating the teams working on messaging on the Web and related topics like identity and contacts, by integrating the Mozilla Messaging team with Mozilla Labs.

People who have followed Mozilla Messaging are already aware of our first investments in this arena, such as the popular F1 add-on for Firefox, and the experimental Raindrop project.  The expanded Mozilla Labs team has more plans for both research and product initiatives in the field of online communications and social interactions on the Web, which we look forward to sharing.

Thunderbird users will likely be curious to know what this change means for them.  The short answer is almost nothing will change.  We’ll move pages around websites, but that will be the extent of the impact on Thunderbird users.  In particular, the Thunderbird team will remain a tight-knit self-contained product team with full responsibility for the stewardship, development and support of Thunderbird.  I’m continually proud of the Thunderbird team, as they continue to produce high quality releases on the platform that Firefox is continually improving, while supporting exciting developments like Blake Winton’s GetAnAccount, Jonathan Protzenko’s radical Conversations view add-on or Mike Conley’s Unity integration work to name a few.

I’ll still be managing the Thunderbird team, as well as lead our innovation efforts at the intersection of the Web and messaging.

When I told the team about this change, there was universal nodding — this is an obvious move for Mozilla.  I’ve had the chance to work with many people in all parts of Mozilla over the last few years, and I’ve never met a more competent or kinder group of passionate professionals, and I’ve never been more excited and optimistic about the chances of having impact, both personally and as a part of the fascinating group that is Mozilla.

Jonas Sicking, a superlative Mozilla developer, recently tweeted:

one of the most awesome things about the web is how it enables new ways of communication. What can we do to improve that even more?

That is a nice summary of our focus in the next phase.

6 thoughts on “The Future of Messaging

  1. Travis Heinstrom

    I would really like to see further improvement in terms of speed and memory optimizations.

    I dumped Fx for chrome about a year ago for my general web usage due to the speed. Nothing beats Fx for development though, so I continue to use it exclusively for that.

    I keep thinking that the ideal messaging client for me would “Feel like Chrome with the features of Thunderbird.”

    Its hard to explain how software “feels”. But to me, more lately with Thunderbird 3, I no longer have the “solid” feeling that I had with Thunderbird 2. Perhaps its just me.

    I’ll be sticking with you guys until something better comes along. Lets hope the something better is still made by Mozilla, free, and open source.

  2. As a long standing registered customer, I have s spent ages trying to find someone at Mozilla Firefox that could help me with my problems using Firefox 5, with zero success. All your help sites fob you off with one user forum or another, which they are in the same boat as you, with a broken rudder, floundering in webs oceans, with no help from Mozilla.
    1. With Firefox 5, I can’t use my essential Google Tool bar, ok with 4, but can’t revert back.
    2. Used one of your help proforma mail, with no indication that would be posted on the open users mail. This is a security risk as it disclosed my personal email & no way to report this security breach to Mozilla.
    This non existent direct Customer Support is totally unacceptable to your customers.
    In one of your web sites you talk about “Increase Mozilla focus on messaging & communication, what an utter sham.

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