Mozilla Snowl Communications Add-on

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 12, 2008
Updated • Feb 9, 2015
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Snowl is a prototype application from Mozilla Labs that tries to bring various communication plattforms under a single roof. The early prototype supports Twitter and RSS News Feeds currently but the developers of the project mentioned already that they are working on other communication platforms like Facebook, Google Talk or AIM.

The first question that obviously comes to mind is how Snowl is any different from current RSS News Feed Readers and the honest answer at this point has to be that it is not that different.

Twitter is offering RSS News Feeds as well which means that any RSS Reader can currently display the same information that Mozilla Snowl offers.

The only difference lies in the interface currently which provides two different view modes. The first resembles desktop email clients like Thunderbird.

It is divided into three different panes: on the left the RSS News Feeds, in the upper half the messages of the selected RSS News Feed and at the bottom half the selected message.

The second view mode is called River of Messages which looks pretty much like a newspaper when the messages are expanded. That mode looks pretty nice but may not be ideal if you want a quick overview of new articles and posts as it does not display that many at the same time in its interface.

If you plan on reading all anyway though, it may be the right mode for you.

Snowl does have a few of the problems that I experienced with Firefox's Live Bookmarks settings.

Importing RSS News Feeds slows down the system to a halt. That's extremely frustrating if you import hundreds of feeds from an OPML file. The same happens if you update the feeds, something that you will never experience in external applications or online services like Google Reader.

That alone is reason enough for me to not use Mozilla Snowl on a regular basis. The developers have some interesting plans for Snowl. They want to add true two-way communication capabilities, for example reading and writing Twitter messages.

Update: Mozilla Snowl has not been updated since 2010. The project appears dead and the most recent version published on Mozilla's Add-ons repository website is not compatible anymore with recent versions of the web browser.

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  1. sandaru said on March 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm


  2. john said on August 13, 2008 at 3:46 am

    downloaded TOR using internet explorer, but cannot launch it

    hello, i am user from China. as you know, internet are often blocked. in fact, i cannot open the ADDON page using firefox. i wonder if the firefox Chinese simplified version is already filtered by the government or not. I suspect that either the company or the government, or jointly block some of firefox function from properly running here. i was able to download TOR using internet explorer. but could not run it. i think the extension is not a normal EXE and the windows do not know what to do with it. well. in any case, can you tell me how to open TOR? i would appreciate using TOR properly to surf online comfortably and safely. Thank you

    Hello, this is another sign that China blocked mozilla. the following message returns when i tried to post this question on mozilla’s support questions. look, it said “incorrect thread”. Fuck the government in China. and Fuck those who submit to that government.


    Incorrect thread

  3. a said on August 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    still not understand why mozilla doesn’t put efforts on integrating thunderbird, RSS and chat in firefox in a better way than SeaMonkey, just like Opera does…Seamonkey is not as powerful as firefox or Opera, and feed reading of firefox is nothing if compared to how much comfortable is doing it in Opera

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