New Browser ‘RockMelt’ Tightly Integrates Social Features

New browsers don’t come around very often. So us users are pretty settled-in, mostly sticking to tried-and-true browsers like IE, Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari or perhaps for the adventurous types, Google’s Chrome or Opera. And while all of these browsers work well enough, and given the recent trend in browsers to slim down the features and focus on performance, it’s especially unusual to see a new browser that seems to be heading the opposite direction.

Meet ‘RockMelt,’ the social-enhanced browser backed by the likes of Mark Andreeson, the man who created the Netscape browser back when HTML was is its infancy. RockMelt, which is based on Chromium, the open source project behind Google’s Chrome browser, aims to distrupt the market by tightly integrating social networking and baking it right into their new browser software.

You may expect it to play nicely with properties like Twitter and Facebook, and it does, but it goes far beyond that by taking your Facebook account and integrating it right into the browser. No need to open a new tab, visit Facebook, potentially log-in, and so on. It’s all right there. Frequent and somewhat routine tasks like sharing and search take on a whole new meaning within the RockMelt browser too.

Run a search and a panel of results flies out. Click on a result and your browser displays the results without a cumbersome process of opening new tabs. Want to share that cool event downtown that you just stumbled on with the serach results? Easy enough, just drag the link onto the ribbon of friends that runs along a narrow column on the left. Want to write on Bob’s Facebook wall and make sure he can make it Friday night? Just click his portrait, choose the ‘write on wall’ option, and start typing, all without leaving your browser or without even opening a new tab.

If you think about it, the web, and in particular, the social networking sites we interact with on a regular basis, create a huge overhead of tasks that just disappear with RockMelt. Opening browser tabs, navigating our bookmarks, hunting down a particular friend, navigating to the right spot to leave a comment. All of these cumulative actions leave us less productive, less focused, and once you see how seamless RockMelt makes the social experience online, you begin wondering why there hasn’t been a browser like this sooner.

But don’t take my word for it. Watch the RockMelt video which does a better job of showing off its amazing new features than I could ever do.

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