I can’t believe that I’m writing to say goodbye to yet another old friend. This time, it’s the Flock browser.
I was a very early adopter of Flock. This goes back to the days when the upstart Firefox browser was the best alternative to using Internet Explorer. At the time, I was using Twhirl as my Twitter client.
Then, Flock came along. Based upon the Firefox code, it extended everything that Firefox did without having to go to look for a good add-on / extension. In particular, Twitter was integrated right into the browser as well as Facebook. And, as a blogger, I liked the fact that a blog editor was part of the browser. Media streaming, RSS feeds, and much more were brought together in “My World”. Flock 2.# was wonderful. Everything was there in one spot for you to use.
And use it I did. It was my default browser and it raised eyebrows from folks who wanted to know what Firefox extensions I was using to people that knew it wasn’t Firefox but didn’t quite know what it was. It was a great actor and I kept it up to date. Then, one day, something really strange began to happen. Whenever I would hit a website that had Flash content, the CPU usage would go to 100% and stay there. Cooling fans would come on my computer and it would really heat up and stall. I tried everything I could think of to resurrect the browser – reinstalling it; nuking and reinstalling the Flash player. Nothing would work and so I went back to Firefox. When Google Chrome came along, I tried it and liked it, making it my default browser.
Using both Firefox and Google Chrome, I kept dressing them up with extensions to try and replicate just what Flock had. No matter what I did though, it never was quite the same.
There were all kinds of rumours about Flock’s future including basing it on the software from the Chromium project instead of Mozilla. Eventually, the big day came and Flock (new) was released. I was there to download it and kick the tires. There was an attempt to make Flock (new) have the same sorts of functionality as the original Flock. You could create an account on the Flock host and log in for settings where there was a scary blanking of the screen as your profile was downloaded but then you were off and running. It was nice but the state of the add-on / extension world had changed since the original Flock and I now tried to make Flock (new) work like my dressed up Google Chrome. Sadly, there wasn’t the real feeling that you were working with something new and innovative any more.
Rockmelt comes along and it does feel new and innovative. It generates the same sort of excitement of browsing that the original Flock did. Eventually, more news came along that the online gaming giant, Zynga, had gotten into the mix. Either they had bought the browser or they had hired the Flock team, depending upon where you’re reading. Could this be the beginning of the Farmville browser?
Visiting the Flock home website now breaks the sad news.
You’re recommended to download and use the latest Firefox or Google Chrome instead. It is sad.
Flock was a break-through browser for me. It proved without a doubt that you could be completely productive and social inside a browser. It inspired me to really dig through the add-ons / extensions that are available to me to create my own perfect browsing environment. Unfortunately, the source code to Flock (new) is not open source so someone else picking up the project and continuing it seems unlikely.
That’s really a shame. On the bright side though, you can get the functionality that you need now in a Firefox or Chrome or Internet Explorer or Rockmelt or Opera by extending the browser with add-ons / extensions. You just won’t be able to do it with Flock anymore.