Firefox’s “The Coop”: Is Web 3.0 starting to hatch?

Mozilla Labs recently announced “The Coop”, an experiment aimed at adding social tools to the Firefox browser.

The overall concept of “The Coop” is to add a panel to Firefox where a virtual chicken coop of a user’s friends’ avatars would be located. This would make it easy to share links with these users and also keep up to date with their web activity from within the browser.

Web 2.0 has enabled people to express themselves across the web in a massive number of ways. However, at some point our ability to participate in the expanding social media becomes limited by our inability to manage our personal information and our social network across an infinite amount of sites.

The Semantic Web and social relationships

Solving this dilemma will likely be a core part of what will be termed Web 3.0. True to the principles of the Semantic Web, this would involve a revolution in which major websites begin to express content as data in unified formats so that it can be shared and mashed up across websites with ease. There is probably nowhere where the emergence of the Semantic Web would have as great of an impact as upon social media.

If personal information and our social network were shared seamlessly across sites, we would be able to bounce from website to website and participate socially without having to worry about entering all our personal information again, searching for our friends user accounts, etc.

For this all to work, there needs to be a standard interface to our social data. This is where “The Coop” comes in. As I’m sure we’ll be using web browsers for the foreseeable future as our primary Web interface, what better interface could there be than the one we already use?

More about “The Coop”

Mozilla Labs expresses that their motivation behind the project is that the most common social interaction on the web today may be sending someone a link. They intend to add drag and drop functionality within the browser – to pass along a link you just drop it on your friend’s avatar.

Their other stated project goal is to create a centralized interface to keep up to date with a friends recent blog posts, tagged websites, uploaded photos and favorite videos.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this become a natural interface for all things social – instant messaging, voice chat, video conferencing – the works.