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RockMelt's social web browser: out-Flocking Flock?

RockMelt social browser
The blogosphere is abuzz this morning, and it's a new Web browser called RockMelt garnering a lot of the attention. While we here at Download Squad haven't been hand-picked to test the beta yet, we're not exactly in a hurry. Why? Because while it's new, we're not sure RockMelt is actually revolutionary.

Over at Engadget, Joanna Stern did get to play with the browser. From the looks of her gallery, RockMelt sets out to do what Flock 3 started doing earlier this year: add a social layer on top of the Chromium browser. RockMelt is nicely styled, with two filmstrip-style sidebars running along the edge of the main browser window. With tight Facebook integration, RockMelt quickly pulls together everything it can about your activity streams -- from Twitter and email to RSS. However, it's not turning the present-day perception of what a browser is on its ear. The Chrome UI is easily recognizable, from the tab bar to navigation buttons. Evolutionary? Certainly. Revolutionary? We're not convinced.

Though as TechCrunch's Eric Schonfeld points out, RockMelt could be about more than just social browsing. "You log into it, and it knows everywhere you go on the Web, who all your friends are, and what your search habits. It also knows what you share with your friends." Here's Schonfeld's zinger: "Combine those three: social sharing, search, and actual browsing behavior, and you've got one hell of a way to target ads at people."

Whether or not that's the actual revolution going on in RockMelt -- targeted advertising -- remains to be seen. For now, we're thinking RockMelt is an attempt to out-Flock Flock. Maybe it's a good fit for those of you who are serious about social networking, but Chrome and Firefox users have probably already grown quite attached to their browser and social add-ons. Will they be willing to switch? Only time will tell.

[We just got our hands on a copy of RockMelt -- a hands-on review will surely follow! -Ed]

Tags: advertising, browse, chrome, firefox, network, rockmelt, social, targeted advertising, TargetedAdvertising, web