RockMelting Faces

RockMelt. It’s supposed to be what we’ve been waiting for. It’s supposed to be a form of Web 2.0 that is as seamless as it is intuitive. What is RockMelt? According to their website:

RockMelt does more than just navigate Web pages. It makes 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. And of course, RockMelt is fast, secure, and stable because it’s built on Chromium, the open source project behind Google’s Chrome browser. It’s your browser – re-imagined and built for how you use the Web.

In short, they use Google Chrome to give you constant access to your Facebook and Twitter accounts in the form of two bars on either side of your browser:

As you can see, I have my Facebook friends who are currently online to my left — including my own profile on the upper left-hand side of the browser. Clicking on my picture allows me to update my status. I can also alternate between my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

On the right-hand side you can see the large Facebook icon, which gives me all of the most recent updates from my news feed. Thankfully, I don’t get any annoying sounds when something new pops up. All I get is a counter that silently counts the number of updates from my news feed. The same goes for any other page I decide to subscribe to, like Twitter or Roosterteeth. Lastly, the little Facebook icon shows a summary of the Facebook activity that is directly associated with me — like comments for example.

What’s cool:

  1. Twitter and Facebook any time & all the time
  2. Seamless integration of icons aren’t abrasive to the overall look of the browser
  3. I’m my own 24/7 news station
  4. I can add more feeds

What’s lame:

  1. Un-Godly distracting; unless you develop enough willpower not to check the constant updates
  2. Only works on Chrome, which is disappointing for Firefox fans like myself
  3. Using the Google search bar is a bit awkward because it lets you preview pages before you click on them and doesn’t automatically bring you to the Google search results page. Of course you can avoid this by using the address bar to search
  4. You can only post links to your status. You can’t post links with a description and a picture. You have to log onto Facebook the old-fashioned way to do that.
  5. In saying this, I’ve noticed that the social networking functions on the sides act as highly advanced applications that are somewhere between smart phone apps and the completely robust functionality of the real thing

So is this Web 3.0? Is this the semantic web? In short No. I think we still have a long way to go before the Internet is truly defined by participatory culture and informed by our peers in a way that makes using the Internet almost like using a tool that knows more about us than we know about it (expect for computer nerds of course…they know about everything).

I do think that we’re getting closer though, and an innovation like RockMelt is definitely a positive contribution to the ecosystem that will give rise to the next generation of computing technology and the Internet as we know it. In the meantime, I’ll be happy tinkering around with this browser and waiting for RockMelt to work all the kinks out. I can’t wait to see how this evolves.

Rock On!

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