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New web browser backed by Netscape founder

by Scott Bicheno on 14 August 2009, 15:12

Tags: Facebook

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qatjj

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Facebook Explorer?

The founder of Netscape, which lost out to Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the browser wars of the nineties, is backing a new web browser called Rockmelt.

Marc Andreessen is now a venture capitalist, investing in technology start-ups. He created the new VC firm earlier this year in partnership with Ben Horowitz. The two of them were the chairman and CEO, respectively of data centre automation software company Opsware when it was acquired by HP in 2007.

The NY Times is reporting that Rockmelt was founded by former Opsware executives Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, but neither they, nor their backers, seem keen on saying much about it.

However, ReadWriteWeb has got its hands on an early build of the browser that appears to show a close link between it and Facebook. Andreessen is on the board of directors of Facebook.

Both the NYT and ReadWriteWeb reckon they've seen other evidence and heard other rumours that Rockmelt and Facebook could be in cahoots. This would be consistent with Facebook's apparent desire to be more than just a social networking site, as indicated by its recent acquisition of Friendfeed.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

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It keeps getting worse and worse, everyone's determined to jump onto the browser bandwagon now! I pity the poor web designers who'll have to put up with yet ANOTHER way of implimented standards…

There's a reason why Microsoft holds onto a monopoly, most people want a simple experience with their PC, they want it to just work. All these competing companies are just hurting the consumer, instead of strengthening them.
Yep, same argument could be made for Linux :)
Lucio
All these competing companies are just hurting the consumer, instead of strengthening them.

In this case, not true. Competition in the browser marketplace ensures that browsers constantly get faster, better-featured and more standards-compliant. This helps you even if you don't use an alternative browser - for example, IE8 is a huge improvement over previous versions of IE, and I doubt MS would have bothered were it not for Firefox, Chrome and Safari making steps forward.
Lucio
There's a reason why Microsoft holds onto a monopoly, most people want a simple experience with their PC, they want it to just work. All these competing companies are just hurting the consumer, instead of strengthening them.

While I agree that it's going to be a little harder for web developers having to deal with yet another browser, your assumptions are just wrong.

#1. The *reason* IE holds a monopoly on the browser market is because it comes standard on Windows and most people don't even know the difference between a browser and “the internet”.

Furthermore, IE's market share is crashing down more and more every year and Firefox is continuing to soar. That is expected as more and more people become aware of just how poor IE is compared to the alternatives.

Your argument implies that using Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari is somehow a “complicated” user experience, whereas IE's user experience is “simple” and most people *want* it. On the contrary: IE's menus are obscure and unintuitive until you learn it and it actually requires users to complete a wizard before first use.

And this may be an aside, but have you ever used IE on a Server edition of Windows? You can't even access the web for security reasons until you explicitly whitelist the website you intend to visit (which wouldn't be so bad if there was just a “Whitelist? Yes | No” dialog box… but you actually have to manually open the security dialog box and whitelist the site before you try to visit it).

Chrome's entire reason for being is to have the most user-friendly, intuitive GUI possible. Firefox is building upon Chrome's open source and free licensing policy (as intended by Google) and is following suit with Firefox 3.7 and 4.0, which will have completely re-designed interfaces.

#2. Competition, as usual, is a driving force in product improvement. Another browser will certainly not hurt consumers. I'm not sure where you get that reasoning that more browser options are bad.
latrosicarius
And this may be an aside, but have you ever used IE on a Server edition of Windows? You can't even access the web for security reasons until you explicitly whitelist the website you intend to visit (which wouldn't be so bad if there was just a “Whitelist? Yes | No” dialog box… but you actually have to manually open the security dialog box and whitelist the site before you try to visit it).
I don't see why this is a negative. It's a server, what are you browsing the internet on it for?

The only thing I can think you would need ot go to is *.microsoft.com for updates or additional software. And then only for things that need to be validated for that system. Everything ese you should use another system or laptop, saving to the network anything you need to install :)

As for Rockmelt, is this actually just a new browser, or a new rendering and Javascript engine? there is a big difference between the two things.

Already you have 4 rendering engines to cope with, IE (and interfaces that use the IE components) , Opera, Mozilla (Firefox and others I presume) and NetKit (Chrome, Safari, many others)