I spent some time last week helping out a group of folks to get a Firefox extension up and running for Knowmore.org. It was a great experience - a testament to the power of distributed volunteer software development as well as how Firefox as a platform can enable such groups to rapidly build and deploy world-changing tools. As officially announced on Knowmore.org today, the extension is live! For screenshots and details, check out the wiki page, and you can install it here (still sandboxed, login is required).
I was first tipped off by Asa Dotzler's call for extension developers to help out. I didn't follow up for weeks, as I was busy working on Firefox 3, trying to close up shop for release. Eventually, the smoke started to clear, and I poked Joe Solomon, social media extraordinaire, asking where the project was at. The timing was fortuitous: They were sprinting to get the extension ready for NetSquared 2008. I hopped in, and found that a group of stellar developers already had the building blocks in place. The extension just needed some pieces glued together, and then once the API went live, it was mostly just polish from there on out.
The extension itself acts as a simple lens through which to experience the web, a lens that brings into focus the business and political practices of corporations that you purchase from. How it works is fantastically simple: When you go to a website, Firefox displays a notification bar at the top of the page, for corporations that have business practices that you might be concerned about, as well as a link to read more. The extension also displays visual notifications in search engine results, marking links to corporations of concern.
This visibility gives us, as web consumers, the power to make informed decisions about where we spend our money, ensuring that we don't inadvertently fund corporations that behave in a way we find unacceptable.
This is just the beginning, as Knowmore.org provides an API for accessing the corporate statistics data. I'd love to see mobile interfaces for the site, integration into web video and TV sites, and support for more search engines.
You can help: Knowmore is a wiki! Start browsing existing corporate data, and you see something missing or incorrect, or you know of another subsidiary, jump in and edit the page.