To begin, I would just like to thank fellow podcaster, Ward Miller from Macs In Life for my invite to RockMelt – you can imagine my pain when, as a manic early adopter, I couldn’t get a first hand look at this new browser. Anyway, enough of the histrionics, I’ve been using RockMelt for long enough that I’m now ready to share my initial thoughts.
So, what is RockMelt? To sum it up very quickly, it’s Google Chrome with some social media integration. This is immediately obvious the first time it loads and asks you to login to Facebook or create a Facebook account. Once this process is completed, you are greeted by a browser that looks and feels like Chrome but with a couple of extra panels.
Down the left hand side, are your Facebook friends – you can reorder these to have your favourites on display. You can also tab between that list and a list of your friends that are currently online. By clicking on a friend’s icon you can look at their Wall, start a chat, or send a message. With out going into endless detail, it has to be said the Facebook integration is pretty complete. Sadly, the same cannot be said for right hand side of the screen. There you are able to login to your Twitter account and add some feeds. For my purposes this is almost completely pointless – I’m following far too many people for one small stream to make any kind of sense. The same can be said of the feeds. There is nothing here that’s going to drag me away from my packed Google Reader and accompanying android app. However, if you’re one of the huge numbers of people whose internet behaviour revolves around Facebook, and perhaps follow just a few people on Twitter, this is probably the browser for you. And actually, even though part of it is rendered unusable by my Twitter / RSS antics it’s actually probably the browser for me.
Unlike many, I treat Facebook as a personal space. Unlike every other corner of the web that I drift around, in Facebook I’m only friends with people I know – either personally or through business. Consequently, because my number of friends is not that huge, this is really easy to manage in RockMelt. Add to that the fact that it’s built on Chrome (my browser of choice), and it makes perfect sense. I can carry on as normal, and keep a closer eye on Facebook. The only difference is I lose a little bit of display area, but it is very small.
Obviously, people who don’t use Facebook and have no urge to start will have no need for RockMelt, but for everyone else it’s worth a go. Who knows, it might drag a few more people away from a certain very widely used browser that I dislike intensely. But that’s another story…
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