RockMelt is not the stuff you use to thaw the ice on your driveway, nor is it the latest Indie rock sensation. But it could change the way that you surf the Web.
What is RockMelt? It is a new browser that focuses on social networking, and it uses Facebook authentication to synchronize a user’s browsing experience across different computers. This is possible because RockMelt is the first Web browser to be backed by the cloud, which means all information is hosted online instead of your computer.
According to the RockMelt blog, the browser is “fast, secure and stable because it’s built on Chromium the open source project behind Google’s Chrome browser.”
When you log in to RockMelt with your Facebook ID, a thin toolbar on the left will appear with a list of your favorite Facebook friends. Feeds from your favorite sites will appear in a thin toolbar on the right side of the browser window. The toolbar also stores your browser bookmarks and preferences.
When you hover over the pictures of your friends, a summary of their latest Facebook activity will appear. Once you click on their profile photo, a small pop-up window will open. This window again shows recent Facebook activity for that friend at the top and a chat area at the bottom for instant messaging.
If you want to update your own Facebook status, you can do so from the top of the left side toolbar, where you will find your Facebook profile picture. Simply click on your profile picture to post a new status.
The right side toolbar not only displays feeds from all of your favorite sites but it also allows you to add other social networking sites like Twitter. As all of these sites update, an unread count will appear next to the site’s icon indicating the number of new articles and updates. When you click on an icon from this toolbar, a pop-up window will appear with a summary of the new content that you haven’t seen. To read the full article or update, you simply click on the corresponding link and it will be displayed in the main browser window.
If you chose to add Twitter to the right side toolbar, you can simply click on the Twitter icon to send updates, reply or retweet messages, and access Twitter lists you subscribe to.
Even though your information is saved on RockMelt’s servers to enable a personalized experience from any computer, Web searches and browsing histories are not. The company also has said that personal information is stored as an encrypted bundle and will not be used for ad targeting.
In the past 72 hours since the beta launch, there have been complaints of not being able to log in and not being able to get updated feeds, but the RockMelt team is urging users to have patience. They explained many of the problems on their blog yesterday and gave some tips for dealing with them. They also had this to say, “As with any early beta, bumps in the road are not altogether unexpected, but disappointing nonetheless. Our team is working around the clock to fix issues. (Yes, we have beds and even a shower in the office, for which we are thankful – especially for the shower!)”
If you would like to give RockMelt a whirl, you can visit the official site and request an invitation.