50 thoughts on “Behold RockMelt, Browser for the Social Set”

    1. Agreed. There is a lot of folks who are going to be skeptical. At the same time, there are a lot of people who are going to end up signing up just for that reason.

  1. Facebook is essentially trying to become a web browser, they want to have users live within their site. I would assume that FB would either build a browser or acquire one, seems and looks like RockMelt is a great acquisition target, especially since they are leveraging FB connect.

    1. I would agree. It would also help that their backer – Marc A — is also on the board of Facebook. 🙂 Outsourced development and then spin-in. Sort of like the strategy that worked wonders for Cisco.

  2. Looks pretty good! As long as it doesn’t need my friends to also be using it (which it doesn’t appear to) – I can see this being very useful.

  3. I think the problem Rockmelt will have is that they are basically just a bunch of features in the browser (albeit some really sweet features). All these cool things displayed in the video can just as easily be copied by Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, and Apple to make them standard parts of the browser thereby making Rockmelt useless. I do like the work they’ve done if the video is anything to go by but they sure have their work cut out for them. Browser’s are a hell-pit of a market to compete in. If I were Google, I would buy this company and make them part of the Chrome team since these guys get social.

  4. I really appreciate the effort to make a more integrated desktop experience. I’ll be interested to see if they can add much to the already simple “appy” workflow of phones and tablets.

    I don’t like the name, though – it’s cheesy and will probably be especially unappealing to nontechnical people who already see choosing a “different” browser as nerdy.

  5. So they added a social layer to Google Chrome by allowing you to show there custom Extensions vertically on the right side of the browser window. I am not overly impressed by the fact that this took them 2 years. I mean, how long would it have taken them if Google was not making the browser for them. And on that note, why do they need a 30 man team for this thing? As I just pointed out, Google is doing all the heavy lifting here.

    It should be good for those who do not mind being constantly bombarded with there social stream. I am not sure how I would feel about my social stream being in my face every second I am online, which is most of the time considering my business is cloud based.

    Best of luck to them.

    1. There are a whole lot of other stuff they did which makes consuming large amount of data and search more easy and fun. I think that is the part you are actually going to like.

  6. i don’t think people want to be ‘signed in’ to their browser all the time.

    not everyone wants everything they do tracked. those people are more comfortable signing into web sites not applications.

    1. Now that is a sentiment most of us would agree, though I wonder how many folks who would be less obsessive about the “tracked” part really care. Like you, I am musing here tom.

  7. Dear Om,

    Not many people would agree, but I am meeting more and more people who run Facebook Disconnect (on Chrome) and No Script + AdBlock(on FireFox).

    It is outright creepy to let any one third party to know about all your browsing habits.

    I would never install RockMelt and I am sure none of my friends will.

    1. pveer

      thanks for your comment. i wonder if this trend of avoiding FB is among the early adopter set, aka folks like you and me. I still think a large part of FB user base isn’t that concerned about the potential impact of being logged into FB.


  8. I think the direction nowadays was to add social layers into more ‘sticky’ properties like chat. if they would to do this ontop of a chat app, i think it would make more sense.

      1. I second Mike’s assertion. Here’s why I say it:

        1. Handing over all of my browsing data to Facebook. Aint gonna happen. #fail
        2. I dont spend all of my time online looking at friends statuses #pathetic
        3. if I have to drop out of it to do non-social browsing (because I dont want fb knowing I’m buying a car and paying my credit card bill), why use it at all? #private
        4. operating systems are pushing integration of these types of services on to a variety of hardware already (Ubuntu, Android, WebOS…) #latetotheparty
        5. no linux support. #weak

      2. Om,

        For the simple fact that they seem to employ more people than Flock ever did (and I have no idea how much they have raised). Flock raised $28 million and are almost dead with no user base to speak of.

        RockMelt will fail even harder because desktop browsing is on the way down and everybody’s moving to mobile platforms.

        There’s also no money in desktop browsers… unless you can crack that 5-10% usage level and get a search box deal from google.

    1. Dan

      I read their privacy policy and it doesn’t seem like they are giving FB any data. It needs to make sure fewer and fewer people are concerned about handing data over to FB and addicted to the browser. My guess is that they are going to stay independent and grow the user base to a point where FB can snap them up. #conspiracytheory 😉

  9. I don’t think it will fly. The browser is becoming an application platform as well as a media and social platform.

    This doesn’t look to me to be a great UI for working on a project, mindmap, chart or document.

    There is a market, of course, in that subset of the population that thinks Facebook and ‘The Web’ are synonymous. But FaceBook isn’t actually as big as is constantly reported. There are a huge number of dormant and rarely used accounts in their. Even many keen social networkers like myself who have FB pages don’t really use them – we just pipe our status update streams into or out of other sites and applications.

    Their best hope at getting rich is that FB will buy them.

    There are niches for special purpose browsers. (e.g. The LastPass browser for the iPad.)

    But in the generic browser market I think Chrome, (and from the UI point of view IE 9) reflect the winning design philosophy – build a browser that is an excellent host for Web 2.0 application with a good extensions architecture for the kind of doo-dads that RockMelt provides, and get rid of as much chrome (ironic isn’t it?) as possible.

    Personally I also think the majority of tweeters, diggers, facebookers, wordpressers, and stumbleuponers are like me: Considering social computing to be excellent fun in moderation. When eighty percent of your computer time is spent in the browser using RockMelt would be like attending a social networking kegger.

  10. Looks more nifty than Flock for sure. Plus looks a lot like chromium with a bunch of addons – and taking up screen real-estate. That said, the features are interesting and going by the numbers that are given out for people using fB, twitter, Youtube, flickr & foursquare, one can only assume that if the marketing is done right, this will get more than a few users.

    For some paranoid people(me included) who like to keep the interconnect between different websites and applications as loose as possible, this might become a nightmare. But i’ll try it out just once to see what it feels like. Wonder how many hours in “lost productivity” for the world though 😉

  11. This actually looks pretty nice, I just don’t think it’ll take off. Users don’t need yet another browser, and certainly not one that looks like Chrome with some added features.

  12. Connect with Facebook. Well that makes sense heh. But I was a little disappointed that it’s still not ready yet. For a downloadable executable, atleast a beta should be available on the day they publicize the product for the first time.

  13. I get the comments regarding continuous tracking by FB. I also get how the Rockmelt functionality could be super convenient and complete when I’m in that “social” part of my daily workflow. Is there a possible case for a multi-browser web workflow for those who are savvy enough to want this level of integration and immersion? Could Rockmelt’s success be as a social app that you use for just that purpose?

  14. I think all the browser talk is missing the point.

    RockMelt is an App that happens to use Chrome as it’s base.
    It looks to me like what Google Wave should have been.

    I’m still not sold that it will take off, but it’s not (just) a browser.

  15. Why is this required? Can’t it be done with firefox addons, or chrome extemsions, or opera widgets………….

  16. Check out http://www.kikin.com. Instead of asking users to switch browsers, kikin works with popular browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari). And kikin offers more than that which is described above: social networking (FB, Twitter); search; favorites; relevant supporting content/services; share … in fact, kikin’s share goes beyond just FB and includes Twitter, email, etc. Look for more good stuff soon from kikin … more of users’ favorite stuff, more than our current 1.5MM active users, making more money, etc.

  17. If you have to “sign in” to surf the web, I’m not in! FaceBook already has two (or more) hits against them for selling info, and I don’t need more spam email – or a new FB Virus spread conveniently through a browser. I’m a no too.

  18. So you have to connect with them via FB. Can you unconnect with them after you download the browser? Or is FB Connect *required* to run the Browser. If it is, I’m not using it.

  19. I’ve used only briefly – but as I set into a rhythm browsing the web, I found that I no longer ctrl+tab half as much. Having twitter and facebook so accessible allows me to watch a video and check my social networks all while staying engaged on the same window.

    This might only take off for multi-taskers like myself but as of now, I’m a BIG fan.

  20. Facebook should just go ahead and buy these guys and release a branded “Facebook” browser. At least it will have brand value and a chance at major traction. Beat Google to the social browsing game and you may have a profitable product.

    These guys are on to something, but the execution seems a bit off.

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