As near as I can tell, here’s the scorecard.
A year ago, Flock 2.# was my main browser. It was built on the Mozilla engine (the same one that drives Firefox) but it’s claim to fame was the integration of social media right into the browser. You could follow Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and even write your own blog using its built-in editor.
It was great. The other alternative was to use Firefox and then add all kinds of add-ons to get the functionality that you seek.
Then, Flock seemed to stall. While Firefox continued to grow, there were fewer and fewer updates to Flock itself. the browser seemed to languish. While this was happening, the browser seemed to feel old. On both the Macintosh and Windows platforms, it wasn’t uncommon for the browser to really heat up the machine and the cooling fans got a good workout. At the same time, it seemed sluggish, even when I would run it without extension in place. It got so bad that I dropped it as my main browser and kept taking a peek to see if there was an upgrade. It really was a great browser in the beginning.
I would read everything that I could and there were rumblings that the browser was being re-written using the Chromium source. But, that was about it.
This morning, I read that Flock 3.0 was out in Beta form. So, in memory of the good times with earlier versions, I went and downloaded the program. It truly is a 3.0, notes indicate that you are looking at Beta software, and it’s built on Chromium!
That would finally end the rumours and also explain while Flock was missing in action for so long. So, a quick download and within minutes I’m using the new browser.
True to the Chromium philosophy, it has a very minimalist approach to screen design. But that’s OK. Let’s dig around and take a look.
Upon launch, you’re asked to create a Flock account. The fine print does have some interesting details about privacy and so I think I’ll pass at this time. After all, it is Beta so we’ll wait and see. The familiar social menu is there, on the right this time. There is room for
Tabbed browsing is there true to Chromium. It’s what you would expect.
Support for Chromium extensions are there as well. I was very surprised to note that the blog editor was not in this beta release. That was something that I used all the time. I wonder if it’s on the development roadmap for the future. In the meantime, there are extensions there for Google Chrome that will do the trick.
The browser seems to run smoothly but I wonder about its future. The old Flock was built on the Mozilla source. It looked like and felt like a new browser. My first impression is that it looks like, acts like, and mostly feels like Chrome. So, what’s the reason to make the switch permanent?
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