RockMelt: The Next Social Browser

I think RockMelt is a cool concept that was designed and engineered exceptionally well.

I was a big fan of Flock when it first came out. It was a little clunky at times but it was Firefox-based so I trusted it. Eventually it started crashing more often and became too disruptive during the work day while trying to login and out of various Twitter, YouTube and Flickr accounts. My heart was in it, but my desire to be productive was over it. When Google Chrome was released for Mac OS, I switched and have been using it ever since.

Today I tried out the fresh-out-of-the-app-oven RockMelt social browser. I liked how they start your registration via Facebook authorization (fitting, since it's a social browser). After authorizing the connection to your Facebook account, you get a photo of the RockMelt team on your screen and then your opportunity to get your OS-detected download on. I got it all set up and connected to my accounts, imported my Google Chrome settings, feeds, etc.  This whole process was very smooth. The functionality was fast, with a slick UI. My only issue really is that after trying out Flock, which I liked, and now RockMelt, which I also like, I realized that at least for me as a social media dude managing multiple accounts on multiple sites, I'm not sure I really want my browser to be much more than a window to the web with some bookmarks that take me where I want to go with one click or stroke of a hotkey. When I first started using it, I quickly started feeling a little boxed in because now I had all this Facebook activity being thrown in my face, regardless of where or what I was doing on the web. All of your friends and their avatars are by default visible on your the left side of your browser window (what they call the Friend Edge), and on your right is all the feeds and other activities (App Edge). Both of these can be hidden but then if I do that, why not just use Chrome without all of the social features and just a tab open on Facebook?

I try and give everything a decent go-round and I'm going to give this one some more working time to see if it grows on me or if my initial reaction was in fact sound and it just seems like too much. Just for kicks, today I did some online banking to see if RockMelt would liquify my attention span even more than "Facebook The Website" already does. Maybe it's my personality, but I definitely had a hard time focusing on the web page at hand with such a prominence of digital peeps tweeting, posting to walls, etc. all over my browser. At least if Facebook is on a tab, I can sort of move it out of sight, out of mind for the most part until I have a moment to come back to the social fray.

In a nutshell, while I have not yet exhaustively investigated every dark corner and feature of this app, I think RockMelt is a cool concept and it was designed/engineered really well. Anyone that knows me knows that I loves me some good Facebook time with my friends, I'm just not sure I want to take them all with me when I go visit other websites.

A more elaborate detailed review of RockMelt can be found here on Mashable.