New Firefox app lets users pimp their browsers

Mozilla Corp. today unveiled a Web application designed to speed the process of customizing the Firefox browser by offering users several sets of preselected add-ons.

Dubbed "Fashion Your Firefox," the online application provides nine sets of Firefox extensions, each with a catchy label and some descriptive text.

"Digital Rat Pack," for example, is billed as an add-on collection to "keep track of favorite sites, bookmarks and blogs." Other sets include "News Junkie," "Finder and Seeker," "Shutterbug" and "Executive Assistant."

Each set includes between three and eight separate add-ons, which can be installed individually or as a group; the user chooses which ones to install by checking boxes beside the desired extensions. In the News Junkie group, Mozilla offers Forecastfox, which puts weather forecast information in the browser's tool bar or status bar; Wizz RSS News Reader; Morning Coffee, an add-on that automatically opens a user-defined set of sites; and Read It Later, a plug-in that lets users quickly save pages for later reading without having to clutter up Firefox's bookmarks.

"One of the best parts about Firefox is the amazing richness of our 5,000-plus free add-ons," Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, said in a statement today.

The Fashion Your Firefox application is only for Firefox 3.0, and it's currently available only in English. Support for other languages is "in the works," according to Mozilla.

In a post to his blog, David Rolnitzky, Mozilla's add-ons program manager, said the company would probably add more collections later, and he cited a trio of possibilities: "News Hound," which would focus on news alerts; "Web Monkey," a group of extensions specifically for Web site developers; and "Multi-media," which would concentrate on video-, music- and photo-related add-ons.

According to Rolnitzky, Firefox users have downloaded a total of 1 billion add-ons since the browser debuted in 2004.

More information about Fashion Your Firefox is available in a short FAQ on the Mozilla site.

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