Mozilla releases the Mozilla Social Mastodon app for Android as a nightly version

Mozilla has released the first preview version of Mozilla Social for Android. This is an application for using the decentralized social network Mastodon. Of course, it not only supports Mozilla's own Mastodon instance, but can be used by users of all Mastodon instances.

Download Mozilla Social Nightly for Android

Mozilla today released the first nightly version of Mozilla Social for Android. So far, the version is only available via GitHub, so it doesn't automatically update to new versions. Mozilla Social will soon be available on the Google Play Store with automatic updates. Mozilla Social for Apple iOS is also in development, but development has not progressed there yet.

Download the Mastodon app Mozilla Social Nightly for Android

First impressions of Mozilla Social for Android

First, a note important for expectation management: we're talking about an early preview here as Mozilla Social is released as a nightly version. This is not the final product. Not everything looks pretty yet, some important functionality is still missing. I will go into this a little later.

The first beginning

The start screen already tells you that it's still a “beta” version, although it wouldn't be wrong to talk about an “alpha” version, due to the lack of functions and the fact that it's a nightly version.

The big button will take you to the login for Mozilla's Mastodon event. The practical thing here is that you can sign in to an existing Mozilla account, either by entering your email address, via Google, or via Apple. However, Mozilla's Mastodon event is currently in closed beta testing. So not everyone can participate here. I've already gained access, and over the next few days I'll be sharing my first impressions of Mozilla's Mastodon event, which differs from other Mastodon events in a few ways.

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The link under the big button leads to another Mastodon server. After entering the server, you will end up on the corresponding login page. Mozilla Social can be used for any Mastodon event, not just Mozilla.

A tour of the app

After logging in, the first thing you'll see is your personal feed. So messages from users you follow. There are no mechanisms to recommend interesting posts from complete strangers or paid posts. If you switch from the “For You” tab to the “Local” tab, you can see posts from other users of the same event, and the “Federated” tab contains posts from users from other events. This information is primarily for people from X, for example, formerly Twitter. Existing Mastodon users are familiar with this concept.

Mozilla Social for Android: First Preview Version

Search is at the top right. Results are divided into “Top”, “Accounts”, “Posts” and “Hashtags” tabs. From the results you can follow a profile or hashtag or interact directly with posts.

Mozilla Social for Android: First Preview Version

The second tab is a special feature of Mozilla Social. There are also content recommendations. But not from Mastodon users, but from Mozilla's internal service packet, you'll also know from the Firefox home page. The articles are also in German, although the rest of the application is in English.

Articles can be read directly in the app or shared with other apps. You can also find buttons for sharing and bookmarking in Mastodon, but these buttons are still inactive.

Mozilla Social for Android: First Preview Version

The middle tab leads to write your own post. In addition to the actual text content and visibility level, you can also upload photos or videos here, attach a poll, and configure a content alert.

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Mozilla Social for Android: First Preview Version

The fourth tab is currently a placeholder. Bookmarks will appear here in the future. Finally, the fifth tab is your own profile. This will take you to your own posts, media, posts you've “liked” and your followers and those who follow you. You can edit your own profile and you can go to settings.

Mozilla Social for Android: First Preview Version

There is a Manage Account link in Settings, which will take you to the corresponding web view of the Mastodon server and log out. Blocked and disabled users can also be managed. Telemetry can be implemented in data protection systems. By default, it is turned off. Finally, there is an information screen.

Mozilla Social for Android: First Preview Version

No activities yet

So while some things are already there, some features are still missing at this stage. First things first, in my opinion: notifications. There are still no notifications about new followers or posts shared or liked by other users. Bookmarks have already been mentioned. The entire app is only in English and not translated into German. There's no way to manage multiple profiles within the app, and compared to the official Mastodon app, one or two settings are still missing.

Conclusion

Mozilla Social already makes a good first impression, and given its early stage of development, it could turn out to be an interesting alternative to the official Mastodon app. At the same time, of course, it quickly becomes clear that at this stage some absolutely necessary things are still missing. Visually, one or two areas could also use a fine-tuning. But expect a lot to happen in the coming weeks.

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Personally, I might consider switching to Mozilla Social entirely based on the current state if notifications are implemented. Since this function is essential to me, I can wait for everything else.

When it comes to the question of why users should choose Mozilla Social over the official Mastodon app, it will be exciting to see what Mozilla comes up with to not only achieve feature balance, but also differentiate themselves. Pocket's content recommendations are a head start that other Mastodon apps don't offer. And Mozilla may have other ideas.

On my behalf: this blog on Mastodon

This blog is featured on Mastodon. If you want to follow me, you can find me by name @[email protected].

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