Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari (may) have a new rival. Yes, you read it right. Marc Andreessen, the creator and founder of Netscape, backed web browser named RockMelt is up on stage now. It is not just another browser, but a cloud-based and social-focused web browser. The browser is built on Chromium, the platform on which Google Chrome is based, and uses Facebook authentication to sync with the browsing environment of the user. In short, it is a cock-tail of Social Media and Open Source, mixed in equal quantities.
The browser has been released in limited beta edition and as such it has an invite only download option. I happened to get an invitation. And here is a brief review of this browser. Look wise, it is very similar to Google Chrome with Facebook and Twitter attached on each of the sides. These sidebars are called Edges. The one on the left is called Friend Edge and it shows your friends on Facebook, who are online. And the one on the right side is called App Edge and it has quick launch buttons to sites such as Twitter, Gmail and others. So, all your favorite social media sites are in front of you. Hence it is called a social-focused browser. Surprisingly, none of these running applications brings your normal browsing on halt. You can go smoothly as you always do.
RockMelt is currently being built for both Windows and Mac systems. It is expected to generate revenues from search engines by ways of referring traffics to them.
Here are some of my observations:
- As it is cloud-based, you can have your favorites and internet history on the cloud. But the servers have to be up and running every time. Otherwise it’s just a normal browser.
- It loads a Facebook app every time the browser is loaded. So you can be in touch with your online friends and check updates instantly. It is this app that acts as a cloud connector for other elements of the browser such as Twitter API and RSS feeds. Even the news alerts are unobtrusive.
- On the App Edge, you can open multiple Twitter accounts, access, and retweet messages from all of those. This is possible because it all takes place from an API level.
- Searching is fun and fast. Though it fetches results from Google, a panel with 10 listings pops up. When you place a cursor against a result, the webpage is displayed in a single browser window.
- The Share button is great and fast as you can quickly post a website or link.
- It seems less customizable as there is not much that one can do to the browser. For instance, Friend Edge on the left is just limited to Facebook. It could possibly be made customizable.
- And as of now, if you are a Facebook lover, you will get even more addicted to it as you have it right in front of you as you open the browser
Overall, RockMelt combines web browsing with easy access mainly to Facebook and Twitter. Being in the limited beta phase, it is quite good. But the developers have to keep on researching on what more services to be added and what to be omitted. Coming to the enterprises, there won’t be any takers possibly as the very mention of the word Social Networking would do all the talking.
The big question now is ‘Will RockMelt address the issue of social browsing?” Or Will it just go the Flock way? Please request a download here, download it and let us know.