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11 March 2011, 09:23

RockMelt social web browser goes into public beta

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RockMelt Logo First announced in November of last year and previously only available by invitation-only, the RockMelt team has announced that its social web browser is now in open beta. In development for more than two years, RockMelt is based on Google's Chromium browser, the open source project behind Google's Chrome web browser.

According to its developers, the cross-platform browser is aimed at re-inventing the browser and is "designed for how people use the web today". RockMelt is tightly integrated with number of social networking sites and services, such as Facebook and Twitter, and allows users to sign in with the browser and sync, for example, their Facebook friends, feeds, favourite services, bookmarks and preferences.

The start-up is backed by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen. When asked by The H if the developers planned on releasing the browser's source code as open source, a RockMelt representative said, "RockMelt contributes back to Chromium and the other open source projects on which they are based, but will not be releasing their source code at this time."

Zoom To run RockMelt, users must first log-in using Facebook and allow access to their account.
Since launching in private beta, the browser has added several new features, such as a YouTube app and QuickLaunch. The beta of RockMelt is available to download for Windows or Mac OS X from the project's site. However, to use the browser, a Facebook log-in and account access permission 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. However, from Flock 3.0, like RockMelt, Flock switched to Chromium as a base. The cross-platform browser automatically manages updates and media from several popular social services, including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Digg, YouTube and Twitter. In January of this year, US game maker Zynga announced that it would acquire Flock.

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