Oh and since RockMelt is still in a limited beta you have to apply for an invitation, and remember you need a Facebook account because you have to connect via Facebook connect and since it's hosted in the cloud it should be fairly easy to install and use.
A fair amount of questions have been asked about does the market really need a new browser and why does it appear to be more akin to a Facebook browser than anything. Could RockMelt be the secret browser or platform that Facebook was rumoured to be working on as to use RockMelt you must login using your credentials from Facebook. The platform is slowly creating a bit of a wave as it might be the beginning of a new round of cloud hosted technologies that are deeply tied to a social platform, moving away from established technologies like Google Accounts, Windows Live ID or OpenID.
RockMelt = Facebook Browser?
While Ron Conway is an investor in RockMelt he is also one of the early investors in Twitter so it’s not surprising to see Twitter is featured as one of the apps in the sample screenshots. Because of the browsers central share button it makes it quick and fairly easy to post links to your Facebook wall but that share feature does seem to further pressure platforms like Bit.ly that have helped business track how people are sharing their content via social media. What analytics or data will be shared back to your Facebook insights account and what might be lost if you are using the new RockMelt share buttons? The question is if the platform is so closely aligned with Facebook over time as it grows in users will Twitter become a secondary application and push RockMelt moves closer to being the beta Facebook browser?
At least RockMelt is Open Source
The idea that the platform is built on Chromium is interesting but at least they have built it around an open source project and not tried to re-invent the wheel, but does that mean the barriers to entry are too low and another clone based on the idea could be made available? The platform took 2 years but it’s fairly easy to see that the idea while not everything could be cloned in a much shorter period of time.
Could it work outside Facebook?
It would actually be quite interesting to see how the RockMelt idea could be tweaked to make it so that you could use your login credentials for Myspace, WordPress or Twitter and it would be personalised to your preferences, bookmarks and settings. The other issues have not be discussed is around privacy of user data and the transparency on how you share and engage in content and what is made public via posts or updates to your Facebook wall.
RockMelt re-thinks Privacy
It what is a very interesting development the sign-up button has added a link “Concerned about privacy? We are too.”
So it seems already there have been some concerns and likely enough to lead to this update on their sign-up button which will massively affect conversion rates for beta testers thinking of trialling the product. RockMelt have advised that their browser will never auto-post to your Facebook wall but stranger things have happened with changes in Facebook applications T&Cs. The RockMelt privacy faqs have also been updated to advise that it’s not actually sending your browsing data with third parties like Facebook and all your browsing and search history is kept locally on your machine.
RockMelt Promotes ADD
The idea of constant checking of your favourite websites for new posts or updates is interesting but also makes the browser not as suitable when concentration or focus is required as little notification windows or icons could get distracting. The constant updates and changes on who is online with Facebook chat brings the platform closer in competition to MSN Messenger, AIM, Yahoo Messenger & Google Chat but do you really want everyone to know you are online every time you open your browser?
Super Google Instant Search
The interesting point is that RockMelt seems to take Google Instant to a whole new level as you can now flip through the search results and should no longer need to click the backwards button to find a more suitable search result. This does mean that potentially websites will in time get a massive uplift in visitors and a huge jump in bounce rates if visitors can just flip through to see your site and move on with a simple click. Questions will be raised around how to track this accurately in your web analytics. It is likely that this new Instant search is being powered by the Instant previews that was recently announced by Google on their blog.
The idea of RockMelt is around 4 basic principles
- Share Easily
- Search Faster
- Connect with Friends
- Keep up on News
You can watch the promotional video of the RockMelt and how it can work with social media platforms below
Oh and since RockMelt is still in a limited beta you have to apply for an invitation, and remember you need a Facebook account because you have to connect via Facebook connect and since it’s hosted in the cloud it should be fairly easy to install and use.