RockMelt: A New Way to Surf the Web?

Image representing RockMelt as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The Beta version of the new webbrowser RockMelt is scheduled to be released tomorrow.  You can watch the video introducing it here.  And if you’d like to be a Beta user, it seems you can request an invite via Facebook connection there as well.  Crunchbase has a discussion of it here.

I don’t know if it will be something useful or not.  I suppose we shall see.  The story, according to news reports, is that…

On Monday, RockMelt, a company founded and financed by a group of Netscape alumni, will release a new Web browser, 16 years after Netscape introduced the first commercial Internet browser, and 12 years after the company was sold to AOL after its defeat by Microsoft in the so-called browser wars.

“We think it is a fantastic time to build a company around a browser,” said Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape, and whose venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, is the principal financial backer of RockMelt.

Although most people spend more time using their Web browser than any other program on their computers, most browsers have not kept up with the evolution of the Web into a social media hub, Mr. Andreessen said. He and Mr. Campbell, a former Netscape board member who is advising the new company as well as investing in it, say RockMelt is a browser for the Facebook era.

At first glance, RockMelt looks like an ordinary browser, a digital windowpane onto the Web. 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.

A “share” button makes it easy to post a Web page, a YouTube video or any other items, to Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Similarly, users can update their status or keep tabs on their friends’ activities on any social network right on their main browser window. They can also easily add and remove friends, or chat with them, on the left-side rail.

When a user searches the Web using Google, RockMelt not only delivers the Google search results, but also fetches the pages associated with those results, so a user can preview those pages quickly and decide which to click to.

So is it a web browser per se or is it just a social media ‘central location’?  We shall see, I suppose.