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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Flock: On Ramp for Web 2.0?

Lots of buzz around Flock. The new social browser scheduled for an October release. Oh no, you say. Not another browser!

No, its not really a new browser.

Flock brilliantly chose to use the Firefox engine (Gecko engine). Flock is an open source browser (like Camino for the Mac) built by some talented guys in Palo Alto, some of which were part of the Mozilla foundation.

They keep the gecko layout engine. Its just the chrome they mess with.

So think about some of the things that really open the web up in the world of Web 2.0.
  • Come To Me Web. RSS Syndication
  • Folksonomy.
    • The tagging phenomon popularized by flickr
    • The social bookmarking popularized by delicious
  • Blogging
    • building blogs
    • locating blogs
Now imagine a browser that makes it easier to do these things. Think about functionality added to the chrome that creates a web 2.0 access ramp for the average user.

Safari 2.0 made a step in that direction by making RSS subscriptions much easier. Flock appears to go much further.

Here are some of it features:
  • sharing and tagging bookmarks. They have a partnership with delicious. They include a way to see these in what they call "bread crumbs". Bad name. More like tagged bookmarks.
  • Watching lists of users and being notified as pages are bookmarked
  • Blog tool that allows you to drag and drop elements from pages you surf into a shelf that you can later compose into a blog using the common blog publishing tools
  • Ability to grab snippets and drop them as blockquotes in blogs.
  • Flickr integration for photo sharing and dropping into blogs directly
Remember the early desktop operating systems? Did not even have disk fragmenters. Lots of utilities that are standard in the desktop OS now was once built as a little tool that got incorporated later into the OS. Is this where browsers will head? We could have stability on the layout engine (IE, Gecko, Safari being the main ones to consider) but have new browser wars that compete on functionality not just around being able to display a page and support richness.

Will IE7 have some of these concepts or did they miss the boat?

Extensions to Firefox can do some of this, but really who outside of geekdom actually installs firefox plugins or has used greasemonkey? And how many times has firefox crashed due to rogue extensions. Its seems natural that browsers will incorporate what the extensions do and will grow like desktop operating systems did.

Google has a secret Firefox project going. Aaron Boodman who built greasemonkey is working on that team. Its been rumored that google is going to unleash a new web os based on Firefox. Is it like Flock?

In an earlier post on the Come To Me Web there was some discussion about how do you get folks to adopt the power of Web 2.0. I think Flock has possibly hit on the right way to do this. The browser can be the On-Ramp for Web 2.0.

More information at ajaxian, technocrunch, wired, flock, rolandtanglao, barcamp.


Mind Valley said...

Flock sounds very cool. However, would you rather keep all of your bookmarks with a browser or just online on a social bookmarking service like

Obviously, I hope the answer is BlinkList, since we are working on the service but I am honestly not sure. This space is still very new. I guess I have to play around with flock to get a better feeling for it but so far blinklist works pretty well for me. Thoughts?

Derek said...

Flock does offer an online social bookmarking service. They're called Breadcrumbs. However, there are plans to replace Breadcrumbs altogether with another suitable social bookmarking method.

Eric McWilliams said...

So do you know anyone with an access code so I can get my hands on the Beta ;). I really can't wait to check it out.

Eric McWilliams said...

So the Flock Dev release came out today I was just going to say this is my frist time checking it out and its pretty cool. Kind of buggy on Ubuntu but it is heading the right way I can tell. I noticed it first off of your blog and just wanted to say thanks.

Bill Scott said...

Finally getting around to comment...
mind valley: Actually flock's bookmarking is not stored locally. It works with delicious & soon MyWeb2.0 (Y!). It will have an API so that it can be integrated with any social bookmarking engine (at least that is what I understand).