Mozilla's Raindrop Project Sifts and Sorts Messaging Views

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 22, 2009

Mozilla Labs has unveiled a new project, Raindrop, that it characterizes as an "open experiment in messaging on the web." From the messaging team behind Mozilla's Thunderbird email project, Raindrop uses a mini web server to sift conversations from various sources such as mail, Twitter and RSS feeds, then attempts to pull out the important parts and have them rise to the top. It works with Firefox, Safari or Chrome, and though it's still in its infancy, the open source project looks promising and bears some very rough resemblance to what Google is trying to do with Google Wave.

According to Mozilla's introduction of the project:

"Raindrop comes with a built-in experience that bubbles up what conversations are important to you. You can participate in the experience by writing extensions that use standard open Web technologies like HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Or, use the lower level APIs to make your own experience. You have control over your conversations and how you want to play with them."

Raindrop will eventually be aimed at front-end applications of various kinds, including mobile ones, and not just standard browsers. It includes widgets and back-end code designed to intelligenly sift people, conversations, mailing lists and more. You can view a number of screenshots showing how it sifts conversations here. The conversations shown below are sorted by the people on the messaging threads:

You can also bring up aerial views of messaging threads like the one seen below:

You can participate in conversations about Raindrop here. Mozilla makes clear that the project is still very young, but it could stand on its own as a way to import your mail, Twitter and RSS feeds into a very flexible viewing platform, or it could be part of the future of Thunderbird. It's also open source and could fork into different incarnations. Raindrop looks worth watching.