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RockMelt: Intrusive browser or next-generation Web search?

By Melissa Bell

rockmelt.jpg

A small shout-out (and blatant promotion): The Washington Post's iPad application launched Monday (Bear with me! This does have to do with RockMelt!).

"The Washington Post's new iPad app has more social integration than any single-source news app I've seen. Nicely done," tweeted Zach Seward, an editor at WallStreetJournal.com. (Okay, maybe I didn't need to include the "nicely done," but it is nicely done!)

Here's the connection: Social integration has become the main focus for Web developers, whether for a newspaper application or a browser. The new Web will be shaped around the premise of people caring about sharing with their friends.

For RockMelt, a new Web browser, that means bringing the social world straight to the forefront of your browsing experience. It's linked in to your Facebook account and displays your friends and their updates in every window you open. It also incorporates elements of RSS feeds, instant messaging and "share" buttons to make a more complete, constantly streaming Web experience.

All of this means people are excited to try RockMelt. It's smartly playing the technological buildup buzz game by launching the browser only for limited requests and invitees. The "Do you have RockMelt yet?" game has begun.

However, some initial concerns have arisen. Some users complain that the streaming is too much, and they bemoan the choice to contain their social sites to a specific site.

But perhaps more troubling is the fear of giving RockMelt too much information. It requires you to allow full access to your Facebook account, so it knows what you share with people, where and how you browse, and what you look for on the Web. That means targeted ads can be all the more targeted.

But Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch says RockMelt doesn't target ads at people. "Its founders tell me they will never do so because it would destroy whatever trust people place in them," he writes.

Of course, that's what the founders of Google once said, too.

By Melissa Bell  | November 8, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama in India: Dance, dance revolution
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Comments

My 1st impression is that I really don't like having the facebook integration. I also miss the bookmarks bar on Chrome that I use constantly but maybe I'm just not seeing how to replicate with RockMelt? Very busy and not as intuitive to use is my summary but will still try it out a bit longer.

Posted by: dtracz1 | November 10, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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