TechCrunch announces the launch of a new Mozilla (the guys behind open source projects like FireFox, to name one) site called Mozillla Messaging. This site aims to ‘fix’ internet communications, firstly by driving the development of the new version of Thunderbird, a desktop email client that replaces things like Outlook Express on Windows machines and Mail on the Mac.
Thunderbird has never really taken off like Firefox, largely, I would imagine, because people just don’t use desktop email clients much, unless it is a heavyweight like Outlook or (bleugh) Lotus Notes at work, so there isn’t much to replace. Indeed, the success of Firefox in making web based email applications even more usable, like Gmail and the new Yahoo! Mail, has reduced the possible market for Thunderbird.
Still, giving the email app. a bigger online presence, out of the shadow of Firefox, is probably a good idea. Mozilla Messaging hasn’t completed replaced the former Thunderbird online places though – you can still get it from the Mozilla.com site.
It’s not just about Thunderbird though. In a blog post, the new CEO of Mozilla Messaging David Ascher says:
It is worthwhile considering what the right user experience could be for someone using multiple email addresses, multiple instant messaging systems, IRC, reading and writing on blogs, using VoIP, SMS, and the like. What parts of those interactions make sense to integrate, and where? I don’t believe that stuffing all of those communication models inside of one application is the right answer. But the walled gardens that we’re faced with today aren’t the right answer either. There is room for innovation and progress here, and we need to facilitate it.
There has been plenty of writing recently about email actually being the hub that links all of our social networks, rather than being replaced by them. However, I’m not convinced that a desktop application is the answer. Indeed, I would imagine that you can pretty much manage all your online social networks through Gmail in FireFox now.