How To Use RockMelt, The Social Web Browser From The Founder Of Netscape

rockmelt browser

Photo: Screenshot

With all the buzz surrounding the latest versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer, the public beta release of RockMelt, the social web browser, fell through the cracks.RockMelt is based on Google Chrome, but integrates Facebook, Twitter, RSS, and a few other social apps directly into the browser.

We tried the private beta of RockMelt last fall, and it seems like there have been a few tweaks since then.

When you first start the browser, you are forced to sign in to your Facebook account. That kind of makes sense since RockMelt depends on Facebook so heavily, but it’s a bit annoying if you want to browse without it.

We do like how easy it is to add your RSS feeds to the side, but it’s still not better than using Google Reader or other RSS reader. You can also add apps like YouTube and Tumblr, but they seem pretty pointless since you’re already in the browser and could easily visit the website.

Overall, RockMelt is a bit of a letdown. There’s no killer feature to set it apart from Chrome, Firefox 4, Safari, or Explorer. Plus, even though it’s based on Chrome, it’s still lacking the recent updates Google added.

But the company is backed by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, so there’s definitely some potential to innovate in the future.

We’ll walk you through how to get the most out of RockMelt. But first, make sure you download the public beta here.

Here's the home screen. You can see all your Facebook friends in the toolbar to the left.

After your boomarks have been imported, you can start adding apps and RSS feeds to the right toolbar. Click the plus button and you'll see that RockMelt suggests installing YouTube. Click it to install.

Here's what the YouTube app looks like. It's pretty pointless since you're already in a browser. Why not just go to

It takes a few minutes for the RSS feed to import. Here's what it looks like when it's finished.

Now your Twitter feed is part of RockMelt. Click your picture to view tweets. You can also post to Twitter from this box.

Facebook is baked in to RockMelt. The left toolbar automatically populates with a list of your friends. You can add your favourite friends to the toolbar by selecting the magnifying glass and clicking the star next to their name.

If your Facebook friend has a green circle next to his or her name, that means you can chat. Click their name and this window pops up. You can chat and view your friend's most recent Facebook posts.

You can send a message to your friend by clicking the envelope icon. You can also attach a link to your message.

We still think Firefox 4 is the best browser out there

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