RockMelt – A new web browser but is it for you?

FINALLY! I got my early access beta confirmation from RockMelt ( to test their new Facebook (er I mean social) web browser built on Google Chromium (Google Chrome).

I say Facebook as, if you haven’t heard, you must have a Facebook account and be logged in to use RockMelt.

So if you don’t have Facebook you can’t have RockMelt. That only leaves RockMelt with 500 million potential uses…

I should start off by mentioning that RockMelt is fully compatible with your Wilcom DecoNetwork powered website.

Oh wow! @easywealth1 can help me “Find Lucrative Home Business Ideas”. Thank goodness for Twitter!

And @PrintingNews says “Cal Poly Student Newspaper Lands National Honors”.

Anyway back to my review… Like I was saying you need a Facebook account and you must log into Facebook to use the browser. This is the basis of RockMelt where you browse the web and share your browsing experience with your friends and the world via the integrated social platforms of Facebook and Twitter.

Mmmm… a colleague in chat thinks I’m getting old and need to see a chiropractor!

So as I was saying… A list of your Facebook friends quietly resides down the left side of your browser window in a place called the ‘edge’ and you can see who’s online, offline or idle. And you can chat directly with your friends in your browser… while you’re browsing.

You also receive live Twitter updates which reside on the right edge of your browser.

Interesting… According to @PrintingNews in Twitter “German Printing Industry Innovation Award Goes to manroland”.

OK where was I… FacebookTwitter… That about covers the social platforms available in RockMelt (today!) but it allows some neat interaction such as sharing website links with your Facebook friends or posting Facebook and Twitter updates.

Oh cool – Clark logged back on Facebook!

Another neat feature is the ability to dock your favorite RSS feeds on the right edge of your browser. You receive live notifications as they update so you won’t miss a thing.

Woo hoo! More members to the industry! @embroidme notes “EMBROIDME’s new franchisees! Training Class 11 graduated, today”.

I had something more to say about the RSS feed docker but it’s skipped my mind…

So basically RockMelt allows a lot interaction, sharing, catching up with friends in Facebook, checking out the latest Twitter updates, and ensures you never miss the latest news from your favorite RSS feeds all while you’re working away in the browser.

Actually… I don’t think you’d be able to focus on any in-depth, detailed work while browsing in RockMelt.

So to explain the seemingly random insertion of my Facebook and Twitter updates which are completely pointless to you. They were actual notices, alerts and distractions I received from my Facebook and Twitter accounts within the RockMelt browser while attempting to review the capabilities of the browser. This highlights one of RockMelt’s biggest (and only one that I’ve found so far) flaws – It’s SO DISTRACTING! (well, for me anyway). I would find it next to impossible to focus on a detailed task within my browser with these endless updates and alerts. And no, it’s got nothing to do with my lack of multi-tasking skills. Combine these distractions with your email alerts and you’ll go mad!

@MagnaTel wants to know do you “think Social Networking site can have educational value?”.

And @EmbroideryCoach recommends you “Avoid switching thread types on your embroidery machine. It is easier to maintain an even tension when you stick to one thread type.”

OK I can keep proving this point by continuing to paste Twitter and Facebook updates in this review as they appear in my RockMelt browser but I won’t. And by the way, I’ve not even mentioned any of my RSS feed updates I need to check. But since I last cleared them all at the beginning of writing this post I already have four to review.

To be fair you can change these settings. You can hide your Facebook and Twitter / RSS edge bars and disable the notifications. This will remove the distractions and still keep the full interaction and sharing capabilities of RockMelt at your finger tips. Nice!

RockMelt is a paradise for anyone who lives and breathes in Facebook and Twitter. It is engaging! The social tools do capture your attention, but it also sucks away your attention from the actual browsing part of the browser. Certainly not a tick in the productivity checklist!

On a professional side I could see marketers or anyone promoting their business in social channels utilizing RockMelt for what it clearly is designed for – social interaction – and to be honest I do intend to use it myself for just this purpose.

On a technical level it seems fast, smooth and so far I’ve not run into a bug so big thumbs up here! Mind you, I was focusing on my social updates  :).

Being built on Chromium it looks and feels like Google Chrome so is already familiar. I could steal an Apple iPad marketing line to explain its familiarity but I won’t.

Search is integrated in the browser in the forum of a search field and your results appear in a short list within the browser. Don’t forget to press Enter or your search won’t start.

This is nice but I do prefer the usual Chrome method of just typing you search query in the URL bar. I guess exposing search as a labelled field would make searching obvious to everyone and in particular those who don’t know you can simply enter your query into the URL bar.

As you select a site in your ‘Google Results’ popup the site loads but the search results popup remains. This is similar to Google Instant Search which I do like. A neat little ‘open in a new tab’ icon also appears as you mouse over the tab which I really like being a taboholic.

The overall interface is clean despite the many Facebook friends profile pics and Twitter/ RSS feed updates. It all does seem very controlled.

I do have one pet peeve so far however I won’t declare it as a ‘bug’ : When typing a URL in the web address bar you cannot use CTRL-Shift left-arrow or CTRL-Shift right-arrow to select a whole word at once. This opens and closes the left or right edge panes that display your Facebook or Twitter/ RSS updates which force you to painfully select each letter one at a time. A simple but common function I use in every other application and its absence (or replacement) to is confusing to me. Ok maybe I should call it a bug!

Give RockMelt a go. I intend to keep using it to see how the product grows – still early days!

You need to register to receive the beta invitation but once accepted you can also invite your friends to join. You might like it, or you might hate it. It all depends if social is important for you and if you enjoy knowing second by second what’s going on in your world.

Oh and for the record – My RockMelt social alerts are now up to 19 and counting. Back to work!



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