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Update: OStatic talks to Flock CEO Shawn Hardin who says that the company “will continue to make architectural decisions that balance what’s best for our users and what’s best for Flock as a business.” Flock, the four-year-old Redwood City, Calif.-based browser maker, according to a report […]

Update: OStatic talks to Flock CEO Shawn Hardin who says that the company “will continue to make architectural decisions that balance what’s best for our users and what’s best for Flock as a business.”

Flock, the four-year-old Redwood City, Calif.-based browser maker, according to a report in TechCrunch today is said to be making a switch to Google’s Chrome (actually Chromium) from Mozilla Firefox.

However, a senior Flock employee says that it is not the case. “No, we haven’t switched. We’ve looked at it, just as we’ve looked at Mozilla 2, and will look at whatever else is promising,” is how Flock employee and director of engineering technology Matthew Willis described the situation in a tweet. Willis in the past had worked on Mozilla’s calendar efforts, Sunbird and Lightning.

My sources say that towards the end of 2008, Flock devoted a single person to work on an experimental version of its browser using Chromium as a back end instead of Firefox. But why would Flock be interested in Chrome?

My wild guess: the mobile browser market. WebKit (and thus Chrome) have a clear path to netbooks and mobiles over Mozilla. WebKit is dominating the mobile web market, as shown by market share data released by Net Applications recently. Mozilla’s mobile offerings are slow in coming. At the same time, there is a lot of demand for full-blown mobile browsers, a point asserted by Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO of the Opera Software in an interview with me yesterday.

Flock has raised close to $29 million in venture funding and has about 6 million users for its browser.

  1. I like Chrome, but it needs more work before it’ll be ready for prime time, in my eyes.

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  2. [...] Is Michael Arrington mis-reporting on purpose? [...]

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  3. Flock would definitely be interested in Chrome because of the new Javascript engine that Chrome has. Since a lot of what Flock is about is social networking, and a good majority of the social networking sites out there utilize AJAX in some fashion, it only makes sense that Flock would want a core browser that has a fast Javascript engine.

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  4. @Jonathan

    you are absolutely right. it is a faster DOM and a faster javascript engine which makes it a better execution engine for web apps

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  5. The only problem with that sentiment is that Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are all “within the margin of error” on JavaScript performance. Moving to an entirely new code base based on almost immeasurable JavaScript performance differences doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Firefox is actually coming out slightly ahead of Chrome in JS perf and slightly behind Safari in JS perf.
    http://www.cnet.co.uk/i/c/blg/cat/software/safari4_benchmarks/pc_benchmarks1.jpg

    - A

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  6. [...] Gigaom says that the news is not true. They have only looked at it, to see possiblities, just as they did with [...]

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  7. [...] In the meantime though, it seems that the “free browser, split search revenue” model for the browser is going to remain the focus. It’s made the non-profit Mozilla Organization a ton of cash and seems to be keeping Flock afloat, even with barely six million users. [...]

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  8. [...] UPDATE TO THIS STORY: Om Malik, on GigaOm, covered this story yesterday as well. For his post, "Who Says Flock Switching to Chrome? Not Flock," he notes a Tweet from Flock employee and director of engineering Matthew Willis saying this: “No, we haven’t switched. We’ve looked at it, just as we’ve looked at Mozilla 2, and will look at whatever else is promising.” Check out more details in the GigaOm post.  [...]

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  9. [...] Who Says Flock Switching to Chrome? Not Flock (gigaom.com) [...]

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  10. [...] Google’s Chrome already enables shortcuts to be placed on the desktop, start menu or quick-launch bar in Windows OS machines. It strikes me that moving tabs toward the outsides of the browser display window is merely a first graphical step towards freeing the app entirely from the browser. Eventually the tabs may disappear altogether, with complex web applications, including those from Google, humming in their individual “containers” and reached via direct click, not via a browser tab. [...]

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