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Rockmelt – the browser that knows what you want – beta released

by Scott Bicheno on 8 November 2010, 10:03

Tags: RockMelt

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In a hard place

In the middle of last year we reported on a new browser - RockMelt - that was noteworthy primarily because it had attracted the backing of Marc Andreessen, the guy behind Netscape who is now a VC.

Over the weekend, after two years of development, a blog post released the browser into a limited public beta. "Hello Interwebs! The rumors are true..." said the post. "Starting today, we're offering access to an early version of RockMelt, a new browser designed around you and how you use the Web."

Sounds like pretty standard marketing dribble so far, but it turns out that these claims of user-centricity actually have some substance. The key innovation seems to be navigation/tool bars on either side of the browser window that put easy access to social networking as a priority - especially sharing stuff with your ‘friends'.

If you think you can tolerate two minutes of the kind of self-satisfied acoustic guitar strumming that we've come to associate with every new Apple miracle, have a look at the video below. You'll see that two things are most prominent - a ‘share' button and Facebook logos.

This isn't a coincidence as RockMelt seems already to be referred to as a ‘Facebook browser'. It must be noted, however, that it's built on Chromium - the open source project running parallel to Google's Chrome browser - so there are likely to be some similarities there. You log into this browser via Facebook, and that sets the foundation for everything else, but the search feature is powered by Google.

"Because RockMelt is the first browser you log into, it unlocks your Web experience with your Facebook friends, your feeds, your favorite services, even your bookmarks and preferences," said the blog. "RockMelt is also the first browser to be fully backed by the cloud. This means you can access your personal browsing experience from anywhere, and you get quick updates from the people and sites that are important to you."

You can sign-up for early access to the beta here.


HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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I think i'll pass on that one. The worlds starting to get a bit controlled by social networking…
I'm praying we come out the other end of the tunnel at some point. I feel like the web is drowning under the Facebook deluge.
I agree with you guys, i dont mind social networking as it has its place and i even use facebook but now its becoming very irritating where everything is marketed for social networking, phones are now being marketed just for social things (I guess it makes sense but still, id rather just a phone or a proper smart phone not a half assed device)

Cant wait for the market to move onto the next craze :P
“Starting today, we're offering access to an early version of RockMelt, a new browser designed around you and how you use the Web.”

Sounds like pretty standard marketing dribble so far
… is a pretty good summary of my opinion on this.

Given I'm studiously avoiding Facebook, this latest thing offers me exactly nothing that I can't do with Firefox/Chrome/IE. Why do we need yet another web browser, when some Facebook add-on for the existing browsers makes a lot more sense?

Bah, humbug!
Seems to me like a browser for complete social network addicts. It's getting really unhealthy how long people spend on these sites, I really think a browser like this is going to cause problems for some people. Facebook Rehab centres will be popping up all over the place…