Facebook Friends RockMelt Social Web Browser

RockMelt launches beta 3 of its Web browser with key integration and support from Facebook, one of the social networks it's built around.

Facebook June 14 finally gave the RockMelt social Web browser the time of day, some seven months after it launched to provide users an easy on ramp to the largest social network's services.

RockMelt launched last November backed by Web browser pioneer Marc Andreessen. RockMelt frames the browsing experience with people's contacts from Facebook, tweet streams from Twitter and other Web content to keep users from having to switch back and forth between those applications.

Facebook contacts appear along the left edge of the browser window after users log into RockMelt via their Facebook e-mail and password. The right side of RockMelt includes buttons for accessing the Facebook News Feed, Facebook Profile, Twitter tweet stream and timeline.

RockMelt beta 3 lets users manage Facebook friend requests, messages and notifications directly in the browser instead of solely on Facebook.com. These tools, located in the top left corner of the browser just as they are on Facebook, should be a key convenience point for the browser's hundreds of thousands of users.

Users may also now confirm friend requests and compose and reply to Facebook messages directly within RockMelt, and users will see notifications when friends post on their Wall or comment on their posts.

Also, when users start a chat on Facebook.com, it will open a RockMelt chat window. This could be a big deal for this popular RockMelt feature, which 40 percent of the browser's users use each day.

"RockMelt's deep integration with Facebook makes it easier for people to take their friends with them around the Web, creating more personal and meaningful experiences wherever they go," said Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships for Facebook.

Other features include and expandable "friend edge" on the left that will display users' full ist of friends with their names and pictures. Users may also swap their friend edge and the "app edge" on the right. Users may also now user their computer mouse to scroll through friends in the friend edge.

RockMelt lists the full set of changes for beta 3 in this blog post.

The new beta comes just two months after beta 2, which added support for the Chromium 10 technology, a chat bar at the bottom of the browser window to help users track multiple conversations at once, and new capabilities to search Twitter and view @replies, lists and direct messages.

When eWEEK reviewed RockMelt, we speculated Facebook might be interested in acquiring RockMelt. This new partnership involving deep integration moves each company a few big steps closer along opposite ends of this possible path.