Practical Technology

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RockMelt: Dumb or Stupid? You Decide


By my count, there are three really important Web browsers today: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. There are also two others that are good enough, Opera and Safari, that they’re worth considering. So, really why the heck should I think that there’s room for yet another Web browser, the much ballyhooed RockMelt?

Seriously, as the guy who first reported on the Web for a popular publication back in 1993, I’ve seen more Web browsers than I can recall, and I really don’t see a lot of reason for yet another one. Sure, there was a time when we really needed a new Web browser to free us from the horror that was, and is, IE 6, but that was in 2004, and Firefox unlocked us from IE 6. Today, we already have many excellent Web browser choices. So, really, what’s the point of another one?

The logic behind RockMelt is that you can take the open-source Chromium Web browser code, which powers Chrome, and pair it up with Facebook, Twitter, and RSS integration to produce a super social-network savvy Web browser. I’d be a lot more impressed by the potential of this idea if it wasn’t that it’s already been tried in Flock.

Technically, I wouldn’t call Flock, which is also built on top of Chromium and also works hand-in-glove with Facebook and Twitter, a failure. In fact, I rather like it. The bottom line though is that after years of being on the market, according to Net Applications’ NetMarkets statistics for October 2010 Flock has a pathetic 0.05% of the Web browser market.

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