You’ve probably seen at least some of the hype about Rockmelt, which bills itself as the first-ever “social browser” with its direct integration of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Its deployment began as invitation-only (thanks, Norma Campbell!) … which seems a lot like Google Wave, and we know how that ended.
To be fair to Rockmelt, however, the integration feature is really cool. You can click a button to see your friends’ most recent Facebook posts. Or to read their latest tweets. Or to use the browser, whatever page you’re on, to update your Facebook status or post onto Twitter.
Rockmelt also will happily project all your friends’ recent Facebook and Twitter activity onto your desktop in specific intervals. But, as the screenshot above shows, that can get mighty distracting and take away from your actual browsing experience.
With sharability the new currency of the web, Rockmelt covers this well with a share button that allows you to share the page you’re on via Facebook and/or Twitter. Saves a step or two from copying and pasting, and could promote more interactive browsing experiences.
The panel along the left shows whether friends (all or selected) are currently online. Which could be good or, well, a bit stalkerish. A corollary complaint I have is that Rockmelt tends to pop open Facebook chat without my permission. There are few things I hate more than chat, so I find this an annoying bug.
Standard features aren’t much different than most browsers, with the exception of the Incognito Window, which allows you to browse sites without leaving traces in your history or cookies after you close it. As far as add-ons, Rockmelt allows you to browse the Google Chrome store to pick up extensions from entertainment to education to social plug-ins.
On the whole, Rockmelt makes a pretty good browser, and the ability to be connected to, and share things with, your social network is a cool concept. But unless you like to be distracted by updates at work, it’s much better suited for casual use when your main online task is being social.