Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Facebook Friends RockMelt


Facebook has finally friended RockMelt. Launched in November by Marc Andreessen, who specializes in Web browsers, the program is currently on its third Beta version.

RockMelt is geared specifically toward Facebook, allowing users to keep tabs on their contacts on that service as well as Twitter and other Web applications, all without switching between social media sites. It also allows users to post responses to messages received directly within the browser, as well as allowing them to manage many of Facebook's core functions, including friend requests and notifications.

The unofficial partnership between RockMelt and Facebook may have been going on for the last seven months, but the official version was announced on Tuesday. With that announcement, the browser casually known already as the "Facebook Browser," can change its status.

Analysts are calling this partnership a smart move on both sides. RockMelt had already succeeded in largely integrating with the Facebook juggernaut already, so bringing them officially onboard will allow Facebook to have some say in how future versions of RockMelt may look and function.

That partnership has already shown promise in the launch of RockMelt 3, which coincided with the announcement of the two companies' new spirit of cooperation on Tuesday. RockMelt 3 features a new layout, the ability to scroll through certain functions, and a pop-up chat window for any of your friends that are online, among other features.

RockMelt is hardly the first social media web browser, but its new endorsement by Facebook itself can only help. Facebook does not actually own or operate any of the day-to-day functions associated with RockMelt, nor have they invested any cash into the company. What they are doing, however, is acknowledging that RockMelt has made a strong effort to intertwine itself with the essential functions of Facebook, allowing users a more streamlined and integrated experience overall.

RockMelt remains a wholly independent browser, and as such has nowhere near the number of subscribers that Facebook can claim. RockMelt's current users total somewhere around a few hundred thousand, compared to Facebook's millions. That number may well jump now, with the release of RockMelt 3 and its newly streamlined features, and the acceptance by Facebook itself.

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