Aug 29 2012

Mozilla Thunderbird 15 released with Instant chat for Facebook, Google and Twitter


Mozilla Thunderbird continues to be one of my favorite applications as an email client. And although Mozilla has said that they’re not going to put as much effort into the development of Thunderbird, they have said that they are going to continue to provide Thunderbird with regular updates; they just want the community to become more involved in the development of the application.

The release of Thunderbird 15 comes with a few nice updates. Is a GUI update, to be more in line with Firefox and is also some additional security options for for web content which received through Thunderbird; the addition of more file link partners,  to be able to transfer large files [previously just YouSendIt]. But one of the biggest features that Thunderbird received with this release, and the most useful, is going to be the instant messenger integration.

Thunderbird instant messaging was something that I blogged about two years ago, but I’m not really sure that they wanted to expose instant messaging at that time, nor was it a priority.  Now with everything being so social,  it’s nice to see that Thunderbird has added the ability of being able to instant messenge a recipient of an email that was sent to you, or if you simply wanted to contact someone very quickly; this is a great function.


It’s a great function, but it’s also a function that Microsoft outlook has had for a long time. The new feature mimics the existing functionality of Microsoft office by putting a small dot next to the connections name. You can quickly see a person is online, and if thy’re available.


The Instant Messenger networks that are available with the new Thunderbird are Facebook, Google talk, IRC, Twitter and jabber [XMPP]. Reading those items off one of the time and realizing that Facebook uses, or has the ability, to use jabber as a default Instant Messenger protocol; You might form the opinion that the developers for Thunderbird simply just refined the process of using the jabber protocol for Facebook. It would seem like a logical choice.

If you click on the chat option at the top of the Thunderbird window, and you don’t have any chat accounts set up, Thunderbird will let you know with a pop-up message, with the option to get started.


Adding the accounts into the system is very easy. You click on new account in the system walks you through the process of adding one of the various instant messenger options that are available. I have some screenshots listed below…


The first two windows could’ve been combined. The username and password for the various accounts, could’ve been done on the same form, but the process is set up to go step-by-step.



As your completing the set up for the various chat accounts, you come to the end where you verify the information and then click on finish. And you have the option to choose if you want to connect to that account now.


From the examples below, I just wanted to show that as your setting up the accounts, for example Google and Twitter, if there’s special options that are available for those accounts, there are advanced options. For example with Google talk, you can choose to change the resource type, to show which type of chat client you’re using with Google talk. Or if you’re using twitter, you can enter in your default keyword…



The twitter chat window seems easy enough to use and I think the overall layout is well presented.


retweeting a story is very easy… right-click and retweet. Done.



And it’s easy enough to quickly adding new contact…


Out of all the things that Mozilla Thunderbird could added over the years, I think adding the Instant Messenger to the email client is probably one of the best things they’ve done; albeit a little bit late. But having a feature like this will really enhance the communication level that the email client can offer.


It’ll be interesting if videoconferencing/video connections can be added to the interface considering that Facebook and Google are both going in the direction of videoconferencing and giving people the ability to connect directly.

Mozilla Thunderbird version 15


Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.
…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12


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