Flock 1.0: The social web browserJanuary 10, 2008
After erasing my iBooks hard drive – which became quite overloaded since the last few projects – I was coping with the problem that Apple’s Safari 3 still being in the state of a public beta version, could not open every single webpage as most so called web designers still haven’t got rid of their blinkers yet.
Ebay is one of those websites on which logging on using the Safari web browser just wouldn’t work. Anyhow it’s really none of my business which platform people use to develop their website, it still seems quite disappointing for the world’s leading website in online auctions to have a website which cannot be accessed through the third largest web browser!
So I rushed myself to the Apple Downloads page and scrawled around for a nice alternative. I had used Camino before, which is a good and very fast browser for os-x but I somehow was attracted by a new browser named Flock.
People use the Web today in extremely different ways than they did a decade ago. However, web browsers – the application at the center of all that we do online – has not kept pace with these changes in online behavior. Flock, that calls itself the social web browser, was founded on the vision that the web browser can and should enable the richest user experience possible across information-gathering, sharing, communication, self-expression and interaction. Flock is built on Mozilla technology and has therefore the power to be some piece of reliable open-source software.
But why would anyone in the world start using a new and unknown web browser? Well, the funeral of Netscape earlier this month could be an argument to do so… But there’s a much smarter reason why. It has a powerful rss reader built-in which actually puts data from your favourite websites as well as your social networks right at the surface of your browsing interface.
Flock has some nifty side bars, top bars and tabs that flawlessly stream updates of your most precious entourage’s media, news and messages in networks such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Flickr. The RSS feeds pane may not be that advanced as it is in dedicated news readers, but the fact that it’s right there where you expect it, right at the moment when you’re expecting it, is just.. wel.. just nice!
One can carry its del.ici.ous or ma.gnolia right into the browser interface without having to actually lose the time opening the website. Or you can directly preview Google Maps directions from your home to an address that figures on a website with one single mouse click.
Personally I got addicted to the People’s side bar which displays real time status updates and messages my contacts in Facebook wrote, or to the Media bar which streams the latest photographs of my favourite groups and contacts on Flickr, or which previews the media content of an open web page without actually having to browse trough it.
Flock may not be the best browser in the world, for those who are webwise socially engaged trough blogs and social networks, this is a decent and fun way to experience the web in 2.0 style!
Available for OS-X, Windows and Linux