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Friday, October 21, 2005

Flock Released

Mozilla-based Flock has been launched as a developer preview (including “bugs and all”, as the download page says). Flock has support for services such as Flickr,, WordPress, TypePad, or Google’s Blogger. Flock also allows you to search through your browsing history. (Flock’s right-side default search engine, by the way, is Yahoo, not Google.)

With its special emphasis on Web 2.0 features, this browser displays RSS nicer than other browsers – in an actual readable format. Also, sharing pages you’ve seen is easy. You click on a star icon to the left of the URL, which allows you to connect to the social bookmarking site to let others see what you’ve seen. You can also tag your bookmarks this way. (I’m not sure if this is truly much more powerful than a simple bookmarklet.)

Of course, being based on the Firefox browser (the Mozilla code base, to be more precise), Flock carries along all the bugs Firefox has too. That means you can’t search in text input fields, which is incredibly important for other Web 2.0 sites – such as a blog, or Wikipedia.

While I’m sure some people get excited about some of Flock’s features, I fail to see anything truly revolutionary. Maybe that’s because browser development at large has been halted and all the functionality is moving to the web page itself. In that area, as web pages are more and more like full-fledged desktop applications, only a revolution of the underlying technologies (e.g., new HTML form elements, which both browser developers and web page developers would need to support) could truly change the browsing experience.


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