I have fallen head over heals over Flock…no, not Flock of Seagulls, but the latest web browser based off of the all powerful Mozilla platform (i.e. Firefox). There have been many browsers out there, but this one might be the most integrated browser I have ever experienced. It incorporates all of your social sites, email, and online video and pictures into one exciting environment. If you are not an internet hound you may not need this addition to your web experience. But if you are like me and need to be connected to everything online, this is a must download. The fact that I can write and then post this blog entry from the browsers integrated “Blog Post” feature without having visit my Blogger website alone should hook all the bloggers out there. But that is not all.

Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, YouTube, Flicker, del.icio.us, Twitter, Blogger, Word Press, and more are all integrated in (a total of 18 web services according to their website) for a unified experience that makes interacting with all of your media quick and simple. For most of you it will be simply logging into your preferred service and Flock will ask you if want to remember your account settings. For myself (a noted settings nut) the setup was a bit steeper. Flock also makes discovering services less scary. I have signed up for two (del.icio.us and Twitter…I know, I’m so behind) today since installing Flock.

It’s integration with online email is what seperates this browser from most others. It has integrated new mail indicator for Gmail and Yahoo Mail and, like above, setup is as easy as logging in.

The RSS feed hounds will love the integrated feed reader. This is one feature I do not like in a browser. While Flock’s solution (a sidebar) is well executed and reminded me of an offline version of what Google Reader offers, I don’t think it’s enough to make me switch to it. I use too many computers to be tied to subscriptions on one computer. Until there is a simple way to do this (and this is between any computer/browser/RSS combination, not just Flock), then I am online with Google Reader (and offline with Google Gears).

Another area that would be cool to see some integration is with Google Docs and Spreadsheets. How cool would it to have a sidebar with all of your documents on the left and a click would bring them up in the browser window. This kind of integration could very help remove Microsoft from global domination in one blow. Well maybe I took that too far, but it would be something to help the burgeoning cloud computing effort.

One of the absolute coolest tricks is the media bar. It will automatically pull media (video and photos) from your sites (YouTube, Facebook, Flicker, Picasa Web Albums, etc.) and display them above or below the website you are currently viewing. This allows you to scroll through anything. Example: I was looking through my friends in my “People” sidebar and noticed one of my friends “Media” icon was glowing. When I clicked on it Flock displayed the latest pictures of my friend’s most recent sky diving adventure. It was incredible. And it will update live as your friends add content. Flock will also pull the Top YouTube video’s for you time wasting needs. I think the only thing they could add would be the ability to scroll through the media ala “Cover Flow”, like iTunes and my Mac. That would be much quicker than having to use the two scroll bars on the extreme left and right of the Media Bar. That’s my only complaint about that.

One last thing I really liked about Flock was it’s very simple (and something I’m surprised I haven’t seen before) RSS feed indicator. This is on the left hand side of the Firefox bar with the little curved lines indicating you can use your favorite RSS reader to subscribe for the latest updates on the site you are viewing. In Flock this is always displayed on the left hand side. It is squished in between two other icons, on the left of the RSS indicator a Media Stream indicator and on the right a Search Bar indicator. What is inovative of this group of icons is they are always visible and when the various content is available the glow orange. The Search Bar indicator is especially useful. It lets you add your favorite searches to Flock’s integrated search bar. When I visited Facebook, Flock’s indicator glowed orange begging me to click it and add it to the search bar, allowing me to find all those lost buddies on Facebook. Nice touch.

Now all these features sit on top of the powerful Mozilla engine that Firefox has risen from to become a real contender in the browser market. And most of those hundreds of add-on’s that you love for Firefox will work with Flock. After the jump are a few I’ve used with no problems so far.

All in all, I think Flock is going to become my primary web browser at home and work for it’s quick access to all the media I actually use and need at my fingertips. I look forward to more features being added over time and can’t wait to see what else these guys come up with.

Flock
http://www.flock.com

Brian

<script type=”text/javascript”>addthis_url='<data:post.url/>’; addthis_title='<data:post.title/>’; addthis_pub=’buff01′;</script><script src=”http://s7.addthis.com/js/addthis_widget.php?v=12&#8243; type=”text/javascript”></script>

Media_https9addthisco_waqif

Blogged with the Flock Browser
Advertisements