Flock (the social web browser)

by Jason Preston on July 17, 2007

I have an addictive personality. I’m apparently 82% addicted to blogging. I’m probably addicted to video games. And I’m certainly addicted to Firefox.

Which is why I’m surprised to notice that I haven’t particularly missed it in the past two days while I’ve been using the new release of Flock. To be fair, Flock is built on the same foundation as Firfefox. The code is open source, and anyone is allowed to snag their own copy, develop it in their own particular way, and then release it back into the wild. And that’s exactly what Flock is doing.

As far as I can tell, the basic idea behind Flock, and what sets it apart, is the way it integrates a whole bunch of features that in other browsers are essentially extensions and plug-ins.

It boots up with a nifty “My World” homepage that is coupled to whatever actual home page you choose. MyWorld is a bit like custom Google or Netvibes in that it aggregates a couple different search engines, a favorite feeds widget (generated from the built in RSS reader), a favorite sites widget (which also appears to be automatically generated–cool!), and a favorite media widget.

When you go to sites like FlickR and YouTube, Flock recognizes the site, pops up a media bar, and prompts you to “enable advanced features”:

Flock YouTube SM

The RSS Reader is pretty solid. It’s integrated as a sidebar and the feed display gives you several important options (headlines, full feed, partial), and it lets you split into two columns if you want:

Flock RSS

And then the blog editor is reasonably good. It was a quick two-step process to get it set up with my self-hosted WordPress install. I particularly like how it asks if you want to append your post with a credit to Flock, rather than simply inserting it like Performancing. I wish it would let you save drafts, though. In fact, I wish any editor would let you save drafts in MySQL so it could sync with your web back-end drafts. Someone please do that.

Overall, Flock is a good package. It’s different than Firefox, definitely, but it has the same core reliability, and while it doesn’t have as many extensions (it does have some), a lot of the desirable features are already built in.

If you’re tired of your current browser, or just looking to check out something new, grab yourself a copy of version 0.9.0.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Evan Hamilton 07.26.07 at 3:20 pm

Hey Jason,

Glad to hear that you’re on your way to getting addicted to Flock! :)

Regarding extensions: most Firefox extensions work with Flock (although we make no guarantees, and some slow it down), so anything you feel you NEED you should try plugging in.

Keep your eyes on Flock…with our 1.0 we will move beyond integrating basic extension-like features and really creating a whole new way to browse the internet. It’s only going to get more interesting from here. :)

Flock on,

Evan Hamilton
Flock Community Ambassador
evan at flock dot com

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