Friday, March 19th, 2010

Mozilla Labs releases alpha version of contacts in the browser

Category: Mozilla

Michael Hanson and a team at Mozilla Labs have been doing some really interesting work with Identity in the browser (and taking ownership back from services).

They just released an alpha add-on for Firefox that begins to integrate contacts from services (right now: “Gmail, Twitter, and, on MacOS-based machines, the local Address Book” but growing).

Imagine getting auto-complete across all of your forms… like this:


Here is a list of features:

  • A browser-based Contacts database that stays in sync with your address books (so far, it supports GMail, Twitter and Mac OS Address book)
  • A generic importer system for Contacts from desktop or web-based address books (so you can implement missing ones)
  • An email autocompletion feature, which demonstrates how the browser can auto-complete email addresses on any website. The autocompletion is performed entirely in the browser, without sharing the your list of contacts with the website.
  • A Javascript API that websites can use to access the Contacts database, with explicit user permission and filtering

Download it here.

This is very cool and you should also note the open technology being used:

  • We’re indebted to our friends and colleagues at Mozilla Messaging, who have been working on address book integration in Thunderbird for years, and have the exciting new Raindrop messaging application in experimental development now. We are working on integrating the Raindrop project with the Contacts API!
  • The Portable Contacts initiative is an important effort to define a common data definition for contact data. We use the Portable Contacts definition internally for Contacts.
  • The W3C Contacts initiative is defining an industry-standard, cross-platform API for access to contact data in the browser. The spec is new and evolving, and now is the time to experiment and provide feedback!

Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:40 am

4 rating from 23 votes


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How is the native-site support different then via the JS API? Is Gmail, Twitter and Mac OS address book just built via that API?

Cool indeed!

Comment by beriberikix — March 19, 2010

@bugme – My first thoughts exactly. I mean the tech is cool and all, but just because you can does that mean you should?

— “A Javascript API that websites can use to access the Contacts database, with explicit user permission and filtering”

What next, hooks into OS system commands from the browser?

Comment by edthered — March 19, 2010

Contacts with UTF-8 characters in the name on my OS X Address book seem to get imported as Latin1 in the Mozilla address book.

Comment by aslakhellesoy — March 20, 2010

this can be wondefull, i cant wait to have this extention at least in a beta version, im a hard firefox user, i have tried almost anything there…

Comment by ivanrojas — May 17, 2010

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