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08 November 2010, 11:53

RockMelt: Chromium meets social

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RockMelt Logo RockMelt is a new cross-platform web browser that's aimed at re-inventing the browser for how people use the web today. According to a post on the RockMelt blog, the browser has been in development for two years and is based on Google's open source Chromium browser platform, the open source project behind Google's popular Chrome web browser.

The new start-up is backed by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and the developers say the browser will make it "easy for you to do the things you do every single day on the Web: share and keep up with your friends, stay up-to-date on news and information, and search". RockMelt is heavily based on 'the cloud' and incorporates a number of social networking sites and services, such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to sign into the browser to sync, for example, their Facebook friends, feeds, favourite services, bookmarks and preferences. An early version is currently available by invitation only.

An introduction video and a video interview with RockMelt CEO Eric Vishria and CTO Tim Howes are available on YouTube. RockMelt is available as a limited beta for Mac OS X and Windows. Those interested in trying out the new browser can sign up from the project's homepage – a Facebook log-in is required.

RockMelt isn't the first browser to attempt to merge social networking with an open source web browser. Flock has been doing just that since April of 2005 with Mozilla's Gecko HTML rendering engine, the same engine used in the 3.0.x branch of Firefox – the latest 2.6.1 release is based on Firefox 3.0.19.

Flock automatically manages updates and media from several popular social services, including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Digg, YouTube and Twitter. From version 3.0 of the Flock social web browser, the developers will switch to Chromium – as Flock 3.0 will be based on the same technology as Chrome, most Chrome Extensions will also be supported.

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