Flock Spreads Wings, Releases Beta Version of New Browser

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2005-10-21 Print this article Print

Flock is a freely downloadable open-source browser that aims to get users around the Web quickly and integrates a number of Web services right into the software.

A new Web browser with a socially conscious streak was released for public tryout Thursday night by a group of 15 young entrepreneurs housed in a garage just off the Stanford University campus in Northern California.

Flock, as it is called, is a Mozilla Firefox-based, freely downloadable open-source browser that aims to get users around the Web quickly and efficiently, but integrates a number of Web services right into the software.

Users can post a Weblog entry, build and share photo collections, and share favorite Web sites (bookmarks are for books, Flock says) with friends-all in one place.

That place is within the browser itself.

In short, Flock (this beta version is called the "Flock 0.5pre Developer Snapshot") aggregates a number of services usually delivered through a variety of separate Web sites and presents them in ways that are intuitive for users.

Flock, distributed under the Mozilla and GNU public licenses, is aimed mostly at bloggers.

Analysts estimate there are 10 million to 15 million sophisticated Internet users writing Internet journals-the number is growing daily-and Flock believes this is a prime target market.

For example, when a user discovers a Web site about which he or she wants to post a comment in a blog, the user just right-clicks on the mouse, which then brings up the Flock blogging wizard (Blog Manager).

The browser software then automatically opens a blank blog entry and adds citations and links for the site that originally caught the users attention.

Flock also has a built-in RSS integration option, so that users can easily scan news headlines and click through to those pages for more information.

Through a partnership with Vancouver, B.C.-based Flickr, Flock offers the Flickr Topbar, which allow users to drag and drop pictures into a blog post.

Flock also a sort of scrapbook for interesting Web content called The Shelf.

Users can drag interesting URLs, pictures or text snippets from any Web page onto it. From there, these items can be inserted into a blogpost.

Next Page: An open-source search engine.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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