Rockmelt: The Socially Minded Browser Comes To iPad
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A little more than 2 years ago, Tim Howes and Eric Vishria launched a new browser meant to compliment today’s social leanings, incorporating messaging, sharing, RSS and, of course, Facebook and Twitter. With help from popular start-up backer Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, Rockmelt was born and has earned itself some 4 million users in its early years.
However, in the competitive world of browsers and All Things Tech, it can be hard to get proper traction in the marketplace, especially considering the massive amounts of money Google and Microsoft funnel into their Chrome and IE browsers. That’s not to say Rockmelt hasn’t been able to raise their fair share, of course. With help from Andreessen, Accel Partners and others, Howes and Vishria have been able to raise $40 million in funding so far.
Rather than try to compete head on with these big browsers, Rockmelt hopes instead they’ll be able to present a new take on the browser, tightly knitting together different social streams into one, unified experience.
Rockmelt is now moving past the desktop browser and has their eyes set on what they believe is the future of web browsing: The iPad.
“There’s been a fundamental shift in the way people use computers — from the command line to gesture-based GUIs,” explained Vishria in an interview with Wired.com.
And let’s be honest: So few of us are using web browsers, desktop or otherwise, to access the troves of information available to us. Take a walk around any library or coffee shop where people are using their computers in the great wide open, and the majority of these surfers are visiting Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like.
“We take on this new generation and apply it to the web itself,” said Vishria, speaking of the new app for iPad.
“It’s faster, more fun, more informative. An entirely new way to navigate the web.”
As you might expect, the Rockmelt iPad app is built specifically to accommodate the typical tablet interface allowing for “direct manipulation” of the images and elements displayed on the screen.
“You can reach and touch everything on the screen, in a continuously reactive way,” said Andreessen.
Stories and streams can be poked, stretched and interacted with in the same way social users are accustomed to in their other apps.
Pictures and videos are embedded and tiles are displayed side by side within the Rockmelt app, according to Wired.com.
Straight from the beginning, the app displays a tile list of Web sites which the user might be interested in visiting, as well as previews of their favorite sites. As a socially minded app, users can also take a look at their friends’ favorite sites as well.
Users plug in their social streams into the Rockmelt iPad app in order to get these recommendations and sharing features, of course, as the app scours a friend’s content to deliver these recommendations.
Those who aren’t too keen on having extra content thrown at them are also able to use the app without logging in, but the functionality of the app is diminished slightly. For instance, in this mode, users are only able to search through preset content in previously set categories, such as Design, Food, Tech, etc. Users can still search for content, however, just as in Chrome or Safari.
Users can also mark content with tags, or “emoti-actions,” as Rockmelt calls them, like “WTF,” “LOL,” or “Want.”
The Rockmelt iPad app also strips away ads, great for users but not-so-great for those who deliver the content.
Rockmelt is a free app and is currently available in the Apple App Store.