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11/10/2010
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Review: RockMelt Takes Browser Social With Facebook Integration

The Google Chromium-based browser, backed by Marc Andreessen, doesn't break new ground on feature set, but could be a hit with heavy social media users.

RockMelt Social Web Browser Revealed
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: RockMelt Social Web Browser Revealed

By far, one of the most powerful features of RockMelt is how it has improved the integrated search in Chromium. When entering a search term within the search field, RockMelt first looked to see if it matched a friend and then performed a full search, with results displayed in a drop-down box.

The box made it easy to scan results with lots of information and offered a nice site preview, essentially loading the site into the main RockMelt browser window.

Down the righthand side of RockMelt is where other services are integrated with the browser, including Twitter and any site with an RSS feed. Clicking on the icon of the service showed popped up a box along the right, where status updates and news could be viewed.

Along with the Twitter and newsfeed information, I could access my Facebook newsfeed from here, though the only option was the full live feed, and not the top news option available in the main Facebook page. It was in this area that I ran into another glitch. When adding my Twitter information, I accidentally used the wrong account name. However, I could find no way to edit the Twitter account information inside RockMelt, meaning on that system, I could not access my Twitter feed from within RockMelt.

As a browser, RockMelt performs great, not surprising given that it is essentially Google Chrome. And, outside of a slightly different new tab page, the underlying interface is the same as in Chrome.

Whether this browser will redefine how we use the web or will simply become a niche tool for heavy Facebook users remains to be seen. Right now, RockMelt, while in some ways impressive, is an early version and probably not ready for most users.

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