REVIEW: RockMelt is the ultimate Web browser for sharing Facebook and Twitter content. Searching Google with previews is a snap, too. But this needs more speed and less clutter.
After spending nearly a week using the RockMelt beta as my default browser,
I've come to experience enough cognitive dissonance to make my head explode.
In short, I love RockMelt's concept and implementation, but the browser
needs to get faster and work out some of the kinks to be as fast or reliable as
Why Chrome? RockMelt is a social browser
based on the Chromium open-source
project, so it feels as if it's Chrome wrapped in Facebook.
For all intents and purposes, that's what it is. Available for Mac and
Windows machines, RockMelt integrates deeply with Facebook Platform to
appropriate Facebook sharing features in the browser.
After the initial download, I received a message asking me to connect to
Facebook, which readers can see here along with other RockMelt activities
I entered my Facebook credentials and I was up and running, free to browse
and share Web content. RockMelt is framed by Facebook contacts on the left, and
tabs for Facebook News Feeds, Profiles and Twitter feeds on the right. Users
may also add their own feeds to customize the browser.
Let's go from left to right. The Facebook contacts-called the Friend edge-present
as profile pictures, which may be sorted by favorite friends, or those who are
online. Presence is signaled by green buttons for those who are online, orange
for idle and blank for offline.
Clicking on the pics pops up a chat window, where users can use Facebook
Chat to instant message or write on a friend's wall. This provides easy,
effortless communication right within the browser window. No navigating to
Facebook at all.
The browser toolbar hovers in the middle over the browser window. Back and
forward arrows and a bookmark star sit just left of a short URL address bar,
with a refresh button to the left.
Users may type in any URL, and when they do they will get an offer to click
the Tab button to search Google, the default search for RockMelt.
Next to this toolbar is my favorite button: the Share button. Clicking on
this lets users share whatever Web page link is currently being displayed in
the browser window below the toolbar.
Users may choose to post links to their Facebook wall or on Twitter. When
they share, the link will be shortened with RockMelt's built-in me.lt URL
This is fantastic; the user doesn't have to copy and paste URLs and type in
headlines or use TinyURL, Bit.ly, Goo.gl or any other shortener with analytics
and all that superfluous stuff.
Users may also send direct messages via Facebook, which works exactly as DMs
do on Facebook.com. Sharing location is not on by default, but is an option on
a per share basis: Just click a button. RockMelt may want to allow users to
share location by default as a clickable option in future builds.