Are You Tired of Firefox, IE or Chrome: Meet RockMelt

Been thinking that Firefox or Chrome browser of yours just isn’t, say, social enough? Probably not, but RockMelt is hoping that’s exactly what you’ll think after you try out its new really social web browser.

RockMelt, a new browser that lives in the cloud and uses Facebook authentication to synchronize a user’s browsing experience across machines, went into limited public beta today. Photo:

Does the tech world need another web browser? Tim Howes and Eric Vishria think that it does, and that is one of the reasons why two years ago, in November 2008, they started Mountain View, Calif.-based RockMelt.

It raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Marc Andreessen (you know, that guy who invented Netscape) and hired away some of the best design and browser talent. Their socially aware browser will finally see the light of day today and will be made available as a beta version.

So, if you are going to create a new browser from scratch and go up against the Microsoft’s Internet Explorer,  Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome,  you might as well make it really different.

“Today’s Web users need a browser that does more than just navigate pages. RockMelt helps people do the things they do every single day – keep up with their friends, share, get updates, and search,” said Eric Vishria, RockMelt’s co-founder and CEO.

“We are very excited to begin offering early access to the RockMelt beta as we begin the race to our first million users,” he added.

The company has re-imagined the browser for modern Web users, building in the Web’s most popular services. RockMelt enables you to interact and share with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other sites instantly from anywhere on the Web.

At first glance, RockMelt looks like an ordinary browser. But along the side of its main window are two thin rails with icons, one showing a user’s friends on the left, and another displaying a user’s favorite social sites, including Twitter and Facebook, on the right. Photo: RockMelt via The New York Times

Rockmelt’s blog gives quite a few more details about the new browser. In particular, it turns out that it’s not so new, at least under the hood. In fact, it’s based on the same Chromium project that is the basis for Google’s Chrome browser,  making it fast, secure, and reliable.

RockMelt has re-imagined the browser experience around how people use the Web today. Logging into RockMelt, through Facebook Platform, unlocks your personal Web experience, where you’ll find Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social and Web services directly integrated into the browser.

And there is a big “Share” button up top, which lets you share any webpage, along with images and a preview, on Facebook. You could call it a Facebook browser, but it really is more than that.

Your friends, feeds, and favorite services are always available, wherever you are online. And because RockMelt is the first browser backed by a cloud service, the experience can go wherever you go.

“RockMelt is onto something huge. They’ve rethought the browser around the massive shifts in user behavior that will drive the Web over the next decade,” said Marc Andreessen, general partner, Andreessen Horowitz.

He continued: “RockMelt is the freshest, most innovative take on browsing since browsers were created. Eric and Tim have built a stellar team that will continue delivering breakthrough innovations.”

“Had we known about Facebook and Twitter and Google back in ’92 or ’93, we would have built them into the browser,” Marc Andreessen said. Photo: RockMelt via The New York Times

RockMelt’s key features include:

  • Your Friends. RockMelt integrates your Facebook friends directly into the browser, so you’re always ready to chat, share a video, or keep up on what your friends are doing, wherever you are on the Web.
  • Easier, Faster Sharing. RockMelt builds sharing directly into the browser, allowing you to update status, tweet, or share content on Facebook, Twitter and other services with just one click. No more wading through a different share widget on each site, or copy-pasting URLs.
  • Your Favorite Sites. RockMelt is the first browser with push notifications. It keeps track of your favorite sites for you, alerting you when a new story comes out, a friend posts new pictures, or a new video is available, freeing you up from checking the same sites multiple times a day.
  • Speedy Search. RockMelt has completely rethought the search experience in the browser, enabling you to get to the right search result radically faster. You get the same great results and suggestions from Google, but RockMelt allows you to quickly flip through results and find just the one you want, without having to click back and forth through a laundry list of URLs.

In addition to leveraging Chromium, RockMelt also utilizes open APIs that enable powerful, stable integration with the services people love from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others.

“RockMelt simply would not be possible without all the great work that has come before us,” said Tim Howes, RockMelt’s Chairman, CTO and co-founder.

He continued: “In particular, we’d like to thank Google for the Chromium open source project, Apple for starting WebKit, and Facebook and Twitter for their APIs, help and support. We are proud and deeply grateful to be able to build on the shoulders of these and other giants.” [RockMelt via TechCrunch and NY Times]

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