This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of Unified Communications Magazine
The unfairness of it all was all I could think when I had to access the opinion section of The Wall Street Journal via the web after getting accustomed to finding it on an iPad app. Those poor people who don’t have tablets and smartphones, I thought, were seeing the web as second-class citizens. After all, the apps I have on my various devices constantly are being upgraded, allowing me to do things like download articles for reading on an airplane where there is no Internet access.
But if social networking is the most interesting class of apps on our mobile devices, then the new browser from RockMelt may be the social media integration app that masquerades as a browser on your PC. You see, this new creation, which has the blessing and backing of Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, is based on Chromium. That’s just like Google’s (News - Alert) Chrome browser, but in addition it interfaces with numerous social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, allowing the browser to take on an aura of being an OS – running everything you need access to on your PC.
As always, I am concerned about the splintering of the Internet, which I referred to as the Splinternet some years back. The concern, of course, is making developers come up with apps and solutions for various app stores and the web. And even developing for the web is complex these days, as you need to worry about devices that run Silverlight or just Flash or just HTML 5.
But it seems at this point anyway, RockMelt – with its tabs along the left and right allowing you to rapidly check in on your social networks – is augmenting the web in a positive, splinter-free fashion. Still, browser compatibility has become a royal pain for me, as apps like CNBC Plus only work well on Internet Explorer and other apps I have run well only on Firefox, etc.
I am looking forward to giving RockMelt a whirl. I don’t expect it to support the various Firefox extensions I use – but perhaps if it is good enough, and a slew of extensions that approximate the functionally I need are developed – I could consider using it regularly. Facebook (News - Alert) had a hand in its development, and you need a Facebook account to use it. This may be bothersome from a privacy perspective, and I wouldn’t blame people for their concern. But if you can get past this issue, integrating your web surfing and social networking more tightly is obviously a logical step toward the future.
Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi