Flock is a new open source browser project based on Firefox. Flock has the noble goal of trying to “smooth out some of the more hairy parts of living and working online” – with a browser. A bit of a longshot in my opinion. If you’re interested, you can download the developer preview here, you might also want to take a look at “13 things you can do with flock,” this entry in one of the developers’ blog, and listen to episode 5 of the web 2.0 show podcast.
I’ve use the browser about ½ a dozen times since downloading it last week.
The browser is essentially, firefox with a new skin and three gimmicks, namely: integrated “social bookmarking”, integrated RSS aggregator and integrated blogging client [ the options menu also contains a “photo sharing” tab, which doesn’t appear to do anything yet]. Online/social bookmark storage is a really good idea. The ability for me to bookmark stuff at home and then have access to it at work, is really awesome. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forgotten a bookmark that I KNOW I have bookmarked at home. The social bookmarking paradigm is fully integrated into the browser. Pages aren’t bookmarked, they’re “stared.” Stared pages can be associated with user-defined tags, so on and so forth. At this point, the browser only supports del.icio.us, but they promise to include other social bookmarking services in future releases.
The RSS reader is also quite slick. The only other browser I’ve seen this in is Opera 9 and Flock’s RSS reader is a lot cleaner than Opera’s. Integrated RSS aggregation is a great idea, I’m not sure we’ll see more browsers with this feature in the near future. It’s worth noting that RSS feeds for pages you’ve “stared” are automatically updated and cached hourly – I’m not sure if Opera does this.
The blog client looks pretty standard. It only supports WordPress, TypePad and Blogger currently. So I haven’t actually tried it out.
So that’s the positive spin on Flock.
Stay tuned for part 2, what I actually think about Flock.