One of the browsers that I have installed on my computer is Rockmelt. Based on Chromium, it very tightly integrates social media into the browser. I really liked the concept and had made it my default browser for a while. Then, I got a little scared because while Chrome and Chromium were updating with features and addressing security concerns, Rockmelt wasn’t. So, even though it was a terrific concept, I sadly set it aside.
This week, in my reads, I read about a new version of Rockmelt – this time for the iPad. That got my curiosity going. Could they incorporate the same features into a portable browser? Off I went to download it.
When I fired it up, the connections to social networking were needed so it continues the tradition of the desktop version. I log in via Facebook and expected to open in a web browser like the desktop version.
At least that’s what I thought…
I was presented with a bunch of stories right off the bat. How cool was that?!
I scrolled around for a while and realized that Rockmelt had already pulled in many great stories for me to read!
But, you’re not limited to that. See that little bar at the top – if you browse, Rockmelt pulls down a categories list where you can pick and choose your content.
(Had to choose LMAO)
Interestingly, at the bottom, if you need more than the original list, you can “add more”. And add and add and add and add — the suggestions go on as long as you can scroll.
Just click Follow and the topic is added to your preferences.
Want even more? Because it’s social, before long you’ll get noticed that other Rockmelt users are following you and your reads. Ignore them, follow them back, follow others — it’s social reading.
But the truly cool thing is that you ARE in a browser. The open bar at the top is a really powerful Omni-type bar. Start typing a concept or search key and Rockmelt responds with search results in little buttons indicating what type of results you’re retrieving. If you know where you’re going, I suppose you could actually type the http:// but it was fun just to watch Rockmelt and Google pair to present the results in a search format.
It was at that point that I realized that I had philosophically changed the way I approached the web. Normally, in a browser, I would open the page, go to a bookmark or start typing because I had a particular purpose for being there. Here, I’m starting with some results and moving on from there. Is this good? I need to think that through. It certainly is different.
The webpage rendering seems to be very faithful to the original.
I’m really interested in this release. Yes, I have a number of other news readers and they do a darn fine job. But, the fact that you’re also in a browser as you type seems so intuitive and easy to flip in and out of browsing and reading…
Need to share?
Of course you do. What would social reading be without sharing. In the top right corner of any webpage or reading, you’ll see the standard share button giving options to send to Facebook, Twitter, Email, and your printer. For me, it would be nice to also send to Diigo or Instapaper. But, we have canned “like”, “lol”, etc… It’s a first release; I’m sure that there is more to come.
Like the desktop version, Rockmelt make use of a sidebar. This time, you can move a webpage to your sidebar as a bookmark. Interesting concept.
The only shortcoming at this point comes with the sharing feature. It would be very nice if Rockmelt pulled the title from the article that you’re sharing. Instead, the default message to your followers on social media is…
Of course, you could edit that out and replace it with your own content. It would just be nice not to have to.
So, excited by this, I went to the Rockmelt site to see if I’d missed something with the desktop versions. I’d just been relying on Rockmelt to upgrade itself. There was no sign of a desktop version but there was an option to sign up for a new Macintosh version. Of course, I signed up. This could be really exciting.
Got an iPad? Download the software from the iTunes store and put it through its paces. You might just have a new favourite browser.
- Rockmelt social browser gets a native iPad app (technologytell.com)
- Rockmelt For iPad Keeps Social Focus With New Visual Interface (forbes.com)
- Rockmelt for iPad Lets Pictures Do the Browsing (technewsworld.com)
- Rockmelt social browser launches on iPad offering a ‘fast and fun’ mobile experience (digitaltrends.com)
- RockMelt For iPad: A Browser Built For Touch That Turns The Web Into A Feed So Content Comes To You | TechCrunch (techcrunch.com)
- RockMelt social browser comes to the iPad, offers up news stories tailored to your interests (engadget.com)
- Social browser RockMelt launches iPad browser+reading app [GigaOM] (gigaom.com)
- Rockmelt: More Feed Reader Than Browser, And Not The Web I Was Looking For [Review] (cultofmac.com)
- RockMelt brings its social browser to the iPad (geek.com)