Rockmelt fails to lift the crowd

RockMelt is a hyped new version of an integrated web browser targeted at a consumer who wants to bring the social web with them wherever they go. Like its always-just-about-failing predecessor, Flock, that made it’s name with neat ways to surf photos in the days before Facebook, the RockMelt browser has added side-bars and plugins which show Twitter and facebook news feeds as you browse the web.

It won’t succeed for two main reasons, and they are not to do with it’s functionality, it’s more fundamental than that:

– firstly modern browsers, like Chrome, now come with sophisticated plugin technology so techies like me can customise their browser to exactly suit them. For instance, I’ve added a password generator tool, GetGlue social bookmarking and OneLogin single sign on to my chrome browser for example. For techies, RockMelt doesn’t provide anything really new, simply a browser already clogged up with add ons that I may or may not choose to use.

And second, this is the sucker punch, is market adoption of new browsers is notoriously tricky – the sort of user that might use a ready-for-social browser like RockMelt has never installed a new browser in their life, in fact there’s a pretty good chance they can’t distinguish between the Internet, the web, google search and Internet explorer. They all do the same thing….. Don’t they?!

So, sorry RockMelt, thanks for playing, but go and write a cool plugin for chrome instead, get a serious early adopter tech following, then maybe Google will buy you in its quest to understand what all the fuss about social is..

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2 thoughts on “Rockmelt fails to lift the crowd

  1. Dave Nattriss January 28, 2011 at 10:46 am Reply

    Very harsh, and mainly fair.

    Though I don’t think it’s actually possible to do what RockMelt does (sidebars for social networks) in Chromium or Chrome using a plug-in, so it certainly does cover a niche that no other WebKit browser can or does. And it’s certainly not ‘clogged up’ with features, it’s just a couple of extra ones, that are optional in any case.

    Personally as a developer/power-user, I have clogged up my Chrome with extensions, so quite enjoy having another WebKit browser (RockMelt) to run in the background that is nippy and fast in comparison when I need it.

    My concern is what the motivation is for RockMelt – browsers don’t make money.

    • Toby Beresford February 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm Reply

      Ha ha, all good points Dave! Browsers don’t make money.

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