Rockmelt | The perhaps too socially connected browser


Rockmelt runs on Facebook Connect, but do you really want your browsing history stored with Facebook? Image: Flickr / svartling / CC-BY-SA

The browser market is packed full, but Chromium-based Rockmelt is the newest browser to enter testing. Rockmelt stores your browsing preferences online, so you can load them anywhere. Rockmelt uses your Facebook login, however, which may be questionable, given the security issues surrounding the site.

Rockmelt with Chromium base

Rockmelt is a browser backed by Marc Andreessen, one of Netscape’s original developers. The browser uses Chromium, the open-source basis of Google’s Chrome browser. This means it is an HTML5-compliant browser that is capable of taking on just about anything the web throws at it. Rockmelt is in limited beta release, and users have to request an invitation to use the socially-connected browser.

Cloud-based browsing in Rockmelt

The biggest competitive advantage Rockmelt claims is the ability to store your browsing preferences, no matter which computer you are using. Rockmelt uses Facebook Connect, and integrates your friends list and chat directly into the browser. Rockmelt also pulls the newest content from your bookmarked pages, letting you know when there is new content to read. The developers of Rockmelt say that this is more in-line with the interactivity of the web, rather than passive browsing of pages.

Rockmelt and Facebook

One of the most unique features of Rockmelt is that it requires a Facebook login. Most of the interactivity of Rockmelt comes from and with your Facebook contacts, and your browsing information is stored with your Facebook identity. Given that Facebook has a long history of allegedly misusing personal information, that fact is giving many pause. The only way to keep personal information safe is to keep tight control on who has it and where it goes. So before you download and use Rockmelt, it would be prudent to consider very carefully if connecting all your personal information on Facebook to all your web-browsing history is something you want to happen.

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