Practical Ecommerce

RockMelt, The Next Social Browser?

RockMelt is a new web browser that integrates with Facebook so that every page can be quickly shared and every post from a friend discovered.

RockMelt is built using Chromium, which is the open-source web browser project that underlies Chrome; so it performs almost as well as the speedy browser that Google built. To this foundation, RockMelt adds a nifty Facebook integration that makes it easy to track friends or share.

Internet Browser Pedigree

RockMelt has a pretty strong pedigree. The browser’s founders include Marc Andreesen, who co-founded Netscape, Ben Horowitz, Tim Howes, and Eric Vishria, who all have Internet and browser experience. The company is also said to be well funded with principle investments coming from the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz—yes the same Andreesen and Horowitz.

Facebook Features

RockMelt’s key feature is the way it wraps Facebook around the main browsing area.

Facebook friends appear on the "Facebook Edge."

Facebook friends appear on the "Facebook Edge."

First, every user must login to Facebook before opening RockMelt. Once logged in, the RockMelt user’s profile and friends show up on the Facebook edge. Clicking on your profile picture makes it possible to quickly post to Facebook.

Post to Facebook directly from the RockMelt browser.

Post to Facebook directly from the RockMelt browser.

It is also fairly easy to see a friend’s recent posts by clicking on a profile picture.

 Seeing recent activity from a particular friend may be easier in RockMelt than on Facebook proper.

Seeing recent activity from a particular friend may be easier in RockMelt than on Facebook proper.

You can chat from this same window, or chat in a pop-out window that is, frankly, more visually appealing than the Facebook interface, which is still available when you are visiting the Facebook site.

 Seeing recent activity from a particular friend may be easier in RockMelt than on Facebook proper.

Seeing recent activity from a particular friend may be easier in RockMelt than on Facebook proper.

Sharing from RockMelt

To share a page from RockMelt, just click the “Share” button at the top, center of the browser. Select either Facebook or Twitter, and share away.

Sharing to a Facebook Wall or Twitter stream is done directly from RockMelt.

Sharing to a Facebook Wall or Twitter stream is done directly from RockMelt.

Apps and RSS Feeds

In RockMelt, the right-hand edge is for applications and RSS feeds. At present, I could only find applications for Facebook and Twitter, but adding an RSS feed also makes it possible to use RockMelt as a reader.

From a social marketing perspective, this could come in handy since it is often a good idea to use RSS feeds as a way of finding interesting and relevant content to post.

The "App Edge" helps track Faceboo, Twitter, and RSS feeds.

The "App Edge" helps track Faceboo, Twitter, and RSS feeds.

Reading a Twitter stream or feed is very easy in RockMelt.

Reading a Twitter stream or feed is very easy in RockMelt.

Integrated Search Previews

RockMelt also allows users to preview search results directly from the browser. For example, typing “ecommerce webinar” into the search bar and pressing enter, displays the results in a narrow row, without ads and without taking the user to Google to see the results.

RockMelt offers a search preview that excludes ads, at least for now.

RockMelt offers a search preview that excludes ads, at least for now.

There Is a Lot Missing

Within a few minutes of using RockMelt, I had discovered plenty of features that it did not have, but that I wish it did have.

First and foremost, I could not find a way to use the RockMelt interface to post to the Facebook pages I manage. This deficiency means that I probably wouldn’t use the browser specifically for social marketing purposes.

Next, the Twitter integration, while functional, seemed like an afterthought. Finally, I could not figure out how to add apps for other social media sites like LinkedIn, Yahoo! Meme, FourSquare, or Yelp.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Dean iodice November 30, 2010 Reply

    I’ve been using RockMelt for about a week and over all it’s pretty good. Although I don’t find the integration of social media in the browser a benefit.