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Summary:

TechCrunch reported this morning that Flock was launching publicly today, in about four hours or so. Apparently it was out on the filesharing networks, prompting the company to pull back the curtain and let the beta out of the bag. The hype around Flock has been […]

flockTechCrunch reported this morning that Flock was launching publicly today, in about four hours or so. Apparently it was out on the filesharing networks, prompting the company to pull back the curtain and let the beta out of the bag. The hype around Flock has been in the high-gear for sometime, and it was about time the folks released the product.

Many were anxious to take a look at the product, and were even willing to overlook a sloppy demo at the Web 2.0 conference. Flock started life as Round Two with a focus on security extensions but quickly changed its game to being a social browser. What it means is that the browser integrates social apps like del.icio.us, Flickr, RSS readers and blogging tool. On paper, this makes absolute sense, but then reality and concepts rarely have much in common.

So what does the world at large generally think of this? The early verdict is that there is no verdict. Paul Kedrosky, a man of few choice words says, “I’ve messed with it and been largely unimpressed. It is nowhere near as feature-rich as my preferred browsing tool, Maxthon.” Solution Watch had a more indepth review of the product, and are generally enthusiastic. But being 100% honest, I’m still not sure I’m changing my browser to have a way to integrate delicious and a blogging tool into my browsing experience,” writes Frederico Oliveira. After playing around with it for a few hours, I do find myself asking the very same questions as others.

It is a good attempt to integrate a lot of social apps in once place, and more power to the team for attempting that. I like the Flickr integration a lot. Kudos for adding a little pep to the browsing experience. It is certainly faster than Firefox. Since I am a bit of a Camino bigot, so there is little less attraction to a permanent switch. Will others be as resistant to switch from Firefox? (Flock founder Bart DeCrem gives his side of the story and says Flock is not forking the Mozilla codebase.) The one function I was attracted to, the blogging tool, is a bit limited, though I have to say dragging photos off the Flickr stream into a post, is a pretty cool feature.

Maybe I will get used to Flock later (UI is pretty nice), but for now I find scratching my head, wondering if this will ever be my permanent browser. I am sure like me there are others who are equally resistant to switching from a great set of desktop applications we use like Ecto, Net News Wire, and Cocalicious.

Clearly, Flock’s business model is to get referral dollars – Yahoo is their search engine of choice – from search engines much like the Mozilla Foundation, and Opera. I guess they have some partnerships with other social networking start-ups, which are going to kick referral dollars their way. (Oh, the sweet sound of VC dollars churning!) I think it is important for the company to talk about their long term future as a business entity and not just a cool browser start-up. Still, when you Meet The Flockers, shake their hand, tell them what you don’t like, and I am pretty sure the next version will have a fix.

  1. checking it out right now … I need help understand the MAJOR features. I have read all about it on various postings, etc. I am checking it out w. a very open mind, but been using it for 15 minutes and still looking for reasons why one would need Flock vs. Firefox and select extenstions (that’s what I like about extensions: just get what you like … al a cart)

    Either way, shout out to Flock folks for their hard work.

  2. Besides the resemblance to FireFox there are some post/blog features (see screenshot – fifth button from left,
    We should remember that they’re at the very beginning.
    It’s nice, Liked the UI, seems to work fast.

    Screenshot:
    http://www.searchmarketing.co.il/system/files?file=images/Flock-TW.gif

  3. I’ve been using it for the past 45 minutes or so and it seems to be a lot faster than Firefox. Has anyone else encountered this? I’m running it on a Mac.

  4. angel, i do find the browser runs really fast.

  5. Oynk: Too Much Is Not Enough » Flock Thursday, October 20, 2005

    [...] There are people much more qualified to speak to the technical merits or deficiences of the software . I just see it as a new approach to a variety of things I do almost every day. [...]

  6. is this a mac only thing (speed)? seems to run a slower for me than opera/firefox. i tested the blog posting… worked like a charm. im assuming the other things work really well as well. the result? likely to be even more useless blog posts on the internet over the next few months

    i personally think that browsers are pretty easy to change- as the functionality is always fundamentally the same, so there won’t be much of a holdup in adoption… but i dont think they’ll get the same aclaim as firefox which kills them of any upseating potential. so i think this really stops at the web 2.0 early adopter crowd.

  7. I tested it as soon as it was announced. I wasn’t impressed but I see where Flock is headed, and if they get it right I’m sure a lot of users will eat it up. It’s not the browser for me, at least not yet, but I think it has some potential. I wrote more about it at my own site, if anyone wants the in depth story.

  8. I don’t think anyone in the Mozilla community likes Bart, so I wonder how he’s going to be able to pull this off. It seems like this will go the way of Eazel.

  9. Brandon writes:
    “so i think this really stops at the web 2.0 early adopter crowd.”

    As do many other technologies coming to market these days w. a Web 2.0 as part of their elevator pitch.

    Well put.

    I spent a bit more time using it. I created a WordPress blog account and configured the blogging tool to post to it. Worked OK … some of the formatting didn’t make it through, but I liked the implementation … or the idea of it, I suppose.

    Everyone is impressed with the speed … I cannot say that I noticed the difference, especially since I am quite happy w. Firefox’s performance (and I make it do a lot with all the extensions and 4 startup/home pages!)

    Again, so far, not enough to justify a switch.

  10. I know a couple of people on the development and design side, and first off I want to make sure that they don’t take this personally. These are just some impressions…

    I don’t notice a speed increase, but then I don’t notice a decrease, either. Firefox occassionally gives me the pinwheel of death and I have to shut it down, but only every few days. I’m giving Flock some time before it pisses me off.

    What I love about it is the fat-client/thin-client convergence thing. I set up my del.icio.us account, and now anything I add to that from another browser is instantly in my Flock faves, and anything I favorite in Flock is instantly added to my del.icio.us faves. It really breaks down the local/remote barrier that way.

    I’ve seen the drag and drop blogging demoed, but haven’t played with it yet. At the time, I thought it looked pretty awesome. But considering that each blog (especially on MT and WP) has it’s own classes and styles for image placement and text layout (read: custom, generally hand-coded HTML and CSS) I wonder how they will handle that.

    Definitely using it and keeping an eye out. I’m sure they could use a bug report or ten!

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