RockMelt Enters Browser Wars with Backing from Marc Andreessen, Focus on Facebook and Twitter
(Page 2 of 2)
founded by Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, now co-general partner at the venture firm; Horowitz, formerly Opsware’s CEO, is also an individual investor in RockMelt.
RockMelt isn’t the first browser to incorporate social networking features into its interface—that distinction goes to Flock, a Redwood City, CA, startup that released its first browser in 2005. But Flock, which was originally based on the open source Mozilla platform and was recently rebuilt atop Chromium, has only about 8 million users worldwide, putting it in a distant sixth place behind IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Howes and Vishria told Om Malik this weekend that RockMelt’s timing is better than Flock’s, with the massive popularity of Facebook and Twitter preparing the way for a browser that emphasizes social services.
Internet pundits are offering mixed reactions to the RockMelt debut so far, with many commentators expressing skepticism that there’s room for a new browser on the market. Rackspace blogger Robert Scoble agrees there’s a need for a browser that better integrates Facebook and Twitter, but wonders whether Web users will want to adapt to requirements like RockMelt’s Facebook login. Om Malik says RockMelt is “entering a saturated market and will need to fight for attention…they want to focus on mainstream consumers, but they have to contend with the harsh reality that people are slow to change and switch.”
In a tweet, paidContent founder Rafat Ali calls the browser wars an example of “Silicon Valley bubble mentality at its worst” and predicts that RockMelt will flame out within two years. Futurist and former Corante columnist Stowe Boyd says the future of the connected Web lies elsewhere—specifically, with mobile apps—and calls social browsers “a small idea” comparable to the DVR, which allowed people to shift the times they watch TV but didn’t change TV programming itself.
I just got my RockMelt invitation and haven’t had time to play with the browser yet, but will review the new software in detail in a coming article.
Trending on Xconomy
By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.