Flock, the Menlo Park, Calif-based company, today released a new version of its social networking oriented browser, Flock 3.5, for both Windows (s msft) and Macintosh (s aapl) operating systems.
The new browser makes it easy to integrate five different social networks inside the browser, the latest being LinkedIn. The company had initially launched a Chromium-based social web browser (version 3.0) in June 2010 exclusively for Windows Platform. The new version of the social browser now supports Apple’s Macintosh OS.
“We are adding LinkedIn support on demand from our customers,” said Shawn Hardin, president and CEO of the five-year-old startup. The company, which has gone through couple of management changes, recently started using Chromium as its core technology instead of Mozilla. The company is facing increasing competition in the browser market, the latest being Mountain View, Calif.-based start-up, RockMelt, which has developed a social-networking-centric browser.
If RockMelt, which focuses heavily on Facebook integration, has a certain in-your-face quality, then Flock 3.5 has a more subtle interface, which appears calmer. If you’ve used Google’s (s goog) Chrome, then you won’t be too surprised by the browser, through it has done job of building social networking into the browsing experience.
Here are some of the things the new Flock browser does:
- Combined Address & Search Bar: Apart from search, as you type, you see any matches from What Your Friends Are Saying as well as from your history or favorites.
- Sidebar: Shows you the aggregated activity of your friends’ updates, tweets and favorite content (feeds) from across the web
- Groups: Allows you to create groups across social network. (This is an awesome feature, though the company should figure out a way to make it more pretty.
The idea behind this user profile is that company can one day help you discover and recommend content based on your usage. Scary? Perhaps, but then it seems everyone is trying to learn about us and discover new services and news for us. This is part of the “hyper-personalized” future of the browser, according to Hardin. It’s not hard to imagine Flock being the hub for other non-social cloud-based services.
Flock has indeed come a long way since it launched. According to the company, there have been a total of 21 million downloads and has 9.5 million cumulative users with 2.36 million total monthly active users. Since June 2010, when the company launched its social browser, it’s seeing an average 15-percent increase in active users week over week.
The increase in number of users has helped the company sign Google on, which has helped boost the revenues. Google pays the company for the search traffic it generates, much like Ask.com and Yahoo (s YHOO). Profitability, however, won’t be coming until the end of 2011, Hardin said. For now, he needs to make sure more people use his browser more often.
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