Flock for Mac

Flock is a new browser. “What? Another browser?” I hear you shout. But wait, as the name suggests this is a ‘social’ browser. Which means that it tries to incorporate a number of social software trends that have emerged over the past years, such as blogging, photsharing, collaborative bookmarking, etc.

I downloaded the developer preview of Flock yesterday night. By the way this is open source software and it is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. As a blogger I found a number of FLock innovation really enticing:

1. I can blog from Flock’s blog editor straight into WordPress (other blogging platforms also supported). This is a rich text editor into which I can also throw pictures from my flickr account. Better still, I can highlight any text on a website and click a ‘blog this’ button to quote this text and blog about it.

2. My del.icio.us bookmarks are accesible as if they are in the browser itself. I can also bookmark sites and tag them from within Flock. Say goodbye to the separation of local and web based bookmark storing.

3. The search toolbar is not restricted to Google, but also includes Wikipedia, Amazon, Yahoo, etc. with the ability to add other search engines. Flexibility and opennes are good.

There is other stuff included of course. The interface is still cluncky. But that’s not the point.

Do I really want to switch from Safari, my current browser, to Flock once it comes out?

When Firefox came out I downloaded it, but I hardly use it. For me Safari does the job of web browsing very well. Maybe I am missing something great in Firefox but it really does not offer me something radically better than Safari. By way of comparison I immediatly switched from PowerPoint to Keynote for my presentations because it was simply better.

Now Flock does offer something new. But do I want as a user to wait out the maturation of Flock into a stable, polished product? The answer is not clear.

The greatest thing would be for Apple to acquire Flock and integrate its features into Safari. Apple would bring its mature user interface experience to the table and the Flock people would bring their understanding of the social web.

These are exciting times for the web. There is an explosion of ideas. Flock is one of those I hope breaks through. I just see that Apple could have enough clout to make this happen.

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5 responses to “Why Apple needs to acquire Flock”

  1. Ameen Malhas Avatar
    Ameen Malhas

    I was about to blog about this. Downloaded the developer preview last night. It’s really cool. There’s an article on TUAW here about it too. This was one of the ‘main’ events at the Web 2.0 conference earlier this month.

    Good stuff.

  2. nibaq Avatar

    I used Flock and hated it. Apple is doing a good job with Safari it is a simple easy to use browser.

    Also what Flock does most browsers already do it just with a little of tweaking.

    Want to access your del.icio.us bookmarks? Just link yourself to the rss feed you send out. Want to bookmark things to del.icio.us just use one of the many bookmarklets for it.

    Same with blogging.
    WordPress has a bookmarklet that does the same thing. You highlight anything click “Press It” and it will copy that to a new window with link attached to write your blog entry.

    Changing the search option? Lots of browsers do that, and you can edit that with Safari.

    I used Flock on Windows and on my Mac and have to say I wasn’t impressed at all. Windows I went back to Firefox and on my Mac to OmniWeb.

    It has been hyped up a lot especially with web 2.0 that has been going around.

  3. Fares Avatar

    Flock is not cool at all. I don’t see any benefits to it over Firefox. Sometime soon you’ll be seeing the same features flock adds on Firefox out as Firefox plugins by some firefox plugin developers. This will then nulliy Flock, and so it becomes worthless.

  4. Chris Messina Avatar
    Chris Messina

    Ah, hearty critics! I love it.

    Apple buying Flock is certainly a new one that I’d not heard before. While at once a tasty idea, I’m not sure Apple quite gets the “social web” as you alluded to (hey, I’m not sure I do either!).

    In any case, I’m glad you gave it a spin. We’ve got a lot of ideas up our sleeve and hope that you’ll stay tuned even if you don’t use Flock as your main browser just yet. Let’s face it, both Safari and Firefox are far more stable than Flock right now, but that’s because we’re just getting started.

    We wanted to get the idea out there sooner than later—and we know we have a long way to go, but hopefully we can continually get input from the community and make a browser that you will want to use full time!

  5. Humeid Avatar

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the comment. It’s cool to see one of the ‘Flockers’ on my site. And if you do get acquired by Apple you know who started the buzz :)

    I just downloaded the latest release and I’m testing it now.

    You know, one thing that is giving Flock a bit of a ‘clunky’ appearance is that there seems to be too much eye candy being used in the interface. One example of that is the wavy shine of the flickr picture boxes when they are still loading.

    There is also a large variety of button styles and, more importantly, colored/shade of grey backgrounds.

    Although I understand that you guys need to differentiate the visual branding of Flock (you blue shiny buttons come to mind), I really believe a more restrained default theme would reduce the clutter and give a more solid, reliable feel to the product.

    Best of luck. I think you guys are onto something..