Friday, June 5, 2009

Did the world need a new browser?

...I've used them all. I used Lynx when the Worldwide Web was young. I used Mosaic when it was cool and exciting. I used Netscape, then later IE (reluctantly, until Microsoft finally "got it" about what made a browser good -- hint: it wasn't about adding new features that no one else could use in their own browsers), and I applauded Firefox (when it was called Firebird) and I absolutely danced and sang out loud at the release of Chrome.

I actually still use Chrome for most of my needs because it's just the "right browser." I often say that Chrome is the way I'd personally write a browser if I were to take on the task myself today.

So why would the world need Yet Another Browser?

Well, the folks who created Flock knew an answer to that question.

Using the Mozilla base, they've invented a browser that (like Chrome) acknowledges the world we actually live and work in today. In this world, web pages are pretty uninteresting. (About as interesting as segments in your neighborhood sidewalk.) What we expect now are RSS feeds, media streams, and social network viewpoints.

They put all this in here.

I downloaded Flock on the recommendation of an acquaintance on Twitter and for at least a couple of days I was completely smitten. This browser aggregates my social network accounts and gives me tools to see into the Facebook/Twitter/Myspace/PicassaWeb combine from one place. It provides a blog editor (which I'm using right now) that is highly useful for people who maintain more than one blog. It provides a "media stream" reader that gives a convenient and highly powerful look at your own (and others, if you wish) assembled collections of online photos, videos, and streams. And for some reason, I have really taken to the RSS feed reader -- I think because of the simplicity of subscribing, managing, and peeking into the various feeds.

My current complaint is that Flock does sometimes lag in terms of performance (I think the spell checker cannot keep up with my typing speed. A don't think it's quite as robust as Chrome, but I will say this.

It's fun to use. It's fun to explore. There are features that I haven't even tapped yet (like the ability to take a picture from a media stream, drop it on the "head" of someone among your Facebook friends, and then have that photo sent to them). I presume that as it progresses, the code will get tighter and more robust, and as more people adopt its use, I think you'll see this in use by Web2.0 power users. (Yes, I did use that term -- I apologize.)

Check it out, even if you love and adore Chrome. You may find that it's just what you want. If you use IE or Firefox and if you have Facebook/Twitter/Myspace accounts, grab this browser now! You may find that it alters the way you work.

---v

Blogged with the Flock Browser