Saturday, March 31, 2012

What the heck is a RockMelt?

The Rockmelt Browser
Most recently, a friend pointed me to Rockmelt. It tags itself as a Wowser. I don't know how the marketing guys come up with that but technically is just a fork of the Chromium browser which the Google's Chrome browser calls papa. Don't see this as a bad thing, Chromium (and by extension Chrome) are pretty stable and fast browsers. Rockmelt is the same thing its a just as fast. Rockmelt is just customized to do a particular thing - social web surfing. It directly integrates to Facebook, Twitter, 9gag, etc. in this nifty sidebar widget thing on the left. A direct share button is pretty nice feature and a Facebook chat on the right sidebar.

But Rockmelt inherits one of Chrome's bad characteristics. It's memory-hungry.  Each widget spawns its own process, sure it makes the Rockmelt run fast but I would be hard press in recommending it to be installed on a budget notebook with only 1 GB of RAM or less. I come across a lot of these 11-13 inch notebooks in my work.

Installing Rockmelt is no big deal, its free and the installer is like 600kb. The installer is one of those file tractor pullers - you run the installer and it then down loads the rest of the browser. No biggie.

After that, you get to a first-run wizard, it ask for your facebook login, this is where it get hairy for some of us, Rockmelt basically want all the rights. If you're concern about privacy, this page will make think about why you got Rockmelt. I already know of a guy who said no and uninstalled Rockmelt.Then you move to a page where you pick a bunch of "Apps" to be added to your Rockmelt.

The Apps here are more of RSS readers allowing you see if there's anything new on that site. Think of them as direct views into the associated site. You have a lot of choices, from Tumblr, Twitter, Pixable, Mashable!, etc. But some apps have direct interaction to the sites, for example Twitter, you can post tweets directly from the Twitter app inside Rockmelt.

Once done it works like another browser but with a direct connection to Facebook.

Which leads me to "the" question: is it worth it? Nothings seriously wrong with it. It did crash a few times but only the tab causing the crash was lost not the whole browser. Nothing serious. A few people will find the permissions page during installing a bit unnerving. Reminds me of that phrase: "signing your life away."

Overall?

Get Rockmelt if basically your homepage is Facebook or you check your Facebook every chance you get and you're not a privacy rights Nazi. Which I think is an oxymoron if I ever seen one. It's already a pretty fast and stable browser. Who knows, it might make you more "productive" but that's a long shot.