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RockMelt; the Review
Written by Terry Van Horne
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 19:20

Is this new browser a winner or a wiener?

My first encounter with RockMelt was in a news item in which they referred to it a "Social Bowser". Hearing what I have about Flock (another so called Social Browser) and my experience with Chrome I wasn't inclined to give it a trial run. Yesterday my Dojo Radio mate Justin Parks a "Social Media Consultant" was good enough to extend an invite. I went and checked it out. At first as I looked it over for suitability seeing it was the Chrome framework I was not impressed since I found my Chrome experience to be lacking.

So I was not enthusiastic when I read it was essentially Chrome minus Google and the Extensions. I haven't used Firefox for much more than testing designs but my disdain for it is more than my dislike for the kludgey constantly nagging and Google toolbar installing Chrome. My interest was piqued when I read RockMelt has the likes of Marc Andreessen and some Netscape developers among its investors and employees.

I've been an MSIE user for about 12 years. I admit the most recent MSIE version, like everything associated with Windows 7, fell well short of my expectations. Cookie Security has become a nightmare with the browser not allowing permanent cookies. It's a long story but... I was ready to move on.

 

RockMelt's Google Search Sans Gimmickry, Instant BS and Ads!

As I started setting up the left and right hand "Edges" in the browser I noticed the Google search was in the usual position in other browsers and thought... hmm nothing new there. Then I did a search... Woh Nelly!  Results from Google Searches in the browser interface go into another floating pane on top of the webpage you are on! No Ads!  Click "View in tab" at the top of the pane and results can be loaded into a new tab with keywords highlighted.

Google Search result in RockMelt
Clicked Link loads in new tab

 

Instant Previews

The Instant Preview is IMO, far superior to Google's. I have seen Google's preview be out of date even if newer pages are cached. RockMelt is opening the page in the new tab which appears to be opening the page in the tab. At any rate... for SERP management this was an awesome feature but could potentially play havoc with Google's click analysis!

A great way to compare two or more search results is to remove the panes from the search by grabbing and dragging and you can load many result sets side by each.

Multiple RockMelt Search Panes
4 different queries in 4 search panes!! Click to enlarge
I found this is a great feature for an SEO who prefers to view SERPs...rather than ranking reports.

Search gets a 10 out of 10 truly a new concept!

 

Social Browsing Features

In the left corner of the browser is the RockMelt standard browser options and below that is my picture showing my current status on Facebook which when clicked drops a dialog box to update my status on the Facebook and my Twitter accounts. There is a lot of cross client work going on with tweeting and browsing in separate clients. I really appreciate these are integrated into a single TweetDeck like experience with the ability to manage multiple campaigns.

This would be so cool if it had the ability to do Bookmarklet type copy and paste functions. Currently this seems to shut when the comment/status windows loses cursor focus.

RockMelt's status update pane auto-shortens all URL's using the me.IT service. I am going to look deeper at this later as it may be a nice way to manage the stats. I want to confirm it is getting into Topsy which may or may not be good depending on the need for security on the link data. I also want to confirm you have access to the data, whether it is public or private and whether they are blocking services like Topsy.

Social Updates

The share button is exactly what you would think with the exception of also doing Twitter updates in a "add to delicious" type way. It didn't seem to auto-shorten using me.IT doing Facebook Shares! Would love to see some delicious bookmark functionality built in.

Share and Status updates gets a 8 out of 10
If RockMelt were more open about the Data access, allowed any shortener including private this would have been a higher score

 

Below the Personal Avrtar with Status Update functionality are all your friends on Facebook. This can be set to just show those online or a list of favorites. If you click a user avatar it opens a Facebook Chat window.

I chat a lot on Skype but have begun engaging more on Facebook using RockMelt. In the left "Edge" when you click an online friend it opens a Facebook chat session. This "Edge" can be sorted by Favorites or Online.

Facebook Chat gets a 10 out of 10
If RockMelt were more open about the Data access, allowed any shortener including private this would have been a higher score

 

A lot of my reading comes from discovery of content shared on Twitter, Tumblr and to a lesser extent Facebook. I was not subscribing to feeds or using an RSS reader. Over the years information my  discovery methods have moved from email to Forums to Social Media mainly because I didn't care for RSS readers or blogs.

That has changed partially because I am responsible for monitoring a select group of sites for news items for Search News Central. Which is how I came across RockMelt in the first place. ;-)

I can't begin to describe how much I like the ability to monitor the RSS feeds along the right "Edge" margin of the browser. I spend a lot of time each day in the browser anyway so it has basically combined a bunch of clients or standalone sites into a a single interface. This provides a great way to manage engagement in the Social Circles. Also I'm sure it will be easier for less savvy clients/ users to manage Social engagement on these sites.

Monitor RSS Feeds 8 out of 10!
I hope they add a way to update Delicious... and this feature will be perfect for me.

The ease to add a feed and "Edge" some starred feeds is very handy. I like that I have been able to "Edge" the sites needing the most monitoring and hide the sites publishing and updating less frequently. In the RSS feeds "Edge" area I have Facebook Profile and Wall making the managing my Facebook account much easier. 

I find it easier to detect when new updates are made since I find the Facebook user experience to be just short of painful and using TweetDeck for Twitter, well let's just say again the user experience isn't exactly conducive to wanting to spend a lot of time of time in it.

In the left hand "Edge" is another feature that monitors who is online in Facebook. As a result I now know when my connections are on Facebook. That enables me to semi monitor my skype channel since many of my connections there listen to if they are online ... I can likely reach them in Skype. However, I have not used Facebook chat up until yesterday when i noticed a friend was on Facebook on his birthday. I also have a bud who is always on Facebook less so on Skype.

Again this seems like a perfect browser for consolidating clients... and getting Adobe Air Resource Hog the fck off my machine!

Monitoring Social Networks 10 out of 10!
You can also detach Social Panes like you do with Search Panes. This gives you the ability to set up a TweetDeck like client for multiple Twitter Timelines and Facebook. Again a truly new concept for browsing these Social Networks

 

Browser Options and Tools!

In the upper Left is the RockMelt button which puts many features scattered around on most browsers into one drop down box. The dropdown contains the usual clipboard options, file and print options, Pretty much the same as most browsers with the following exceptions. There is New Window and Tabs options with an anonymous tab. This tab hides history and private info simply an incredible option considering privacy is a second thought for the Google's and Facebook's of the World!

The Internet options and permissions are easily understood unlike MSIE's which MAKE NO F*CKING SENSE! The big surprise in the Tools Option for Developers is a nice set of tools for website audits and coded blocks a tool to check load speed and more. This is just another way that this browser has anticipated a need and provided a great tool to work with! 

 

Internet Options and Browser Tools 10 out of 10!
The position and way real estate in the browser is managed is quite unique and impressive in the way it increases the display area without cutting down on functionality!

 

Browser Performance

One of the bonuses I see is that with this browser I will need TweetDeck open less which is a big bonus since I've found this program to slow my whole system down not just the browser. Even when TweetDeck was opened I found this program to be a little faster than MSIE, a lot faster than FireFox and more trustworthy than Chrome. I have found even when TweetDeck is open RockMelt still loads pages faster than any browser I have tried in my quest to replace MSIE.

 

Browser Performance 10 out of 10!
This browser is seemingly downloads much faster than any other browser I have tried

.

RockMelt Review Conclusions

For SEO the search features are reason enough for me to recommend Rockmelt add in the Social Network and RSS Feed Monitoring and I can do lot of what I did in three different clients!

I still have a few invites left if anyone needs 'em. Just leave a comment or use the contact page and can hook up a few folks.

Terry Van Horne -

Terry is an old school SEO/IM geek that works out of International Website Builders and the founder of SEOPros.org - You can also hook up with him on Twitter. It seems he's become a regular here on the Trail... so I wanted to, once more, give a great big THANKs to T for hanging out and sharing his experiences.

You can also hook up via

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 19:45
 

Comments  

 
0 #1 Karl Gephart 2010-11-16 19:40
Terry, I would love an invite for Rockmelt!
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0 #2 Dan Cruz 2010-11-16 19:40
Wow seems like a pretty nice browser! I've heard a lot about it but haven't had a chance to try it out yet... :oops:

Thanks for the write up T and if ya get a chance can you hook a brotha up :-*
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0 #3 Darren Shaw 2010-11-16 20:25
Nice write-up Terry. I'm sold. Looks like a great browser.

I like how you give facebook chat a 10/10, but say the score would be even higher if they made a few improvements ;)

Darren
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0 #4 Mike Wilton 2010-11-16 20:52
I've been using RockMelt for the last week and LOVE it. I noticed you mentioned it was Chrome without the extensions, and I discovered last night you can add extensions. So your desire to add Delicious could be solved if you use an extension like Chromelicious. The only extension I couldn't get to work last night out of the few I tested was the StumbleUpon extension. This really is a one stop shop for those of us who like to dabble in the social and SEO realm and do a lot of sharing and interacting over content. Great write up Terry!
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0 #5 Terry Van Horne 2010-11-16 22:04
@Karl and @Dan we have to be friends on Facebook. One way is to go to RockMelt and use the connect on Facebook link.

@Darren thanks much appreciated!

@Mike... ok now I get it... I need to look at the chrome extensions... The bookmarking in this is the only part I've found lacking!
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0 #6 Doc Sheldon 2010-11-17 15:14
Great review, Terry! I'm sold too, after using it for about a week. I have been using Flock, primarily (not sure exactly why they figured it deserved to be called a "social" browser), because it was not such a glutton for resources as FireFox. RockMelt is MUCH easier on my resources, and I share your enthusiasm for its functionality.
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0 #7 Terry Van Horne 2010-11-18 15:26
Thanks Doc!

@Mike try the Felicious extension it was recommended over the Chromelicious... I'm quite happy with it.
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