The RockMelt Mystery. Is it Just a Facebook Browser, Or Will It Break The Mold?

by admin August 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Marc Andreessen is backing a new browser company called RockMelt. Not much is known about RockMelt other than it is being designed by an all-star team (including software engineer Robert John Churchill from the Netscape days) and that it is tied into Facebook through Facebook Connect. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has a screenshot of the sign-in page and speculates that RockMelt is in fact a Facebook browser. Miguel Helft at the NYT leans in that direction as well. It kind of makes sense since Andreesen is on the board of Facebook, but I suspect it is only half the story.

A Facebook browser, however, is a good metaphor for thinking about how browsers, in general, need to change. What would a Facebook browser look like? Well, to start with, you would be able to see updates from your friends on Facebook, share your own updates and media right from the browser, and perhaps IM with your friends through Facebook chat. While those set of features would be convenient, they are nothing revolutionary. Flock, which calls itself the social browser, already incorporates Facebook Connect (and Twitter and other social networks to boot), but it hasn’t taken off. And Facebook itself offers a toolbar for Firefox that lets you see notifications, search Facebook, and share links. There are plenty of other Firefox add-ons which incorporate Facebook features as well.

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