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Flock Takes Aim at Social Browsing

Flock Screenshot

Flock is a new open source browser that wants to be your hub for activities like blogging, collaborating, sharing photos/bookmarks and the like.

So what can it do?

First off, Flock is based on the Firefox code base – so the look and feel of the browsers are similar. However, Flock is far from an imitator. Here is a quick list of features:

RSS: Flock has a unique tool for managing feeds that will be especially helpful to the blogging community. Here’s how it works – if you visit a site like Nerd Approved, and you add it to a folder in your bookmarks, Flock will automatically detect the RSS feed on the site. The next time you visit your favorites folder a small button entitled “feeds” will show up next to the folder where Nerd Approved was saved. Unfortunately, Flock does not allow you to designate a new bookmark to a particular folder when you create it – so this process can be somewhat annoying. This will undoubtedly be corrected in future versions.

“Moreover, Flock makes it easy to create online bookmarks for Web sites. Visit a Web site and click a “+” button on one of the browser’s toolbars, and that site is saved to a personalized list of social bookmarks on sites like Del.icio.us. or My Web 2.0″

Blogging Tools: Currently, Flock has support for publishing to WordPress, Movable Type, Typepad, and Blogger blogs using the built-in blog editor. “It makes blogging a snap by eliminating the need to do arcane coding in order to post, change fonts or add photos. Right click the mouse on a Web page, and a blogging wizard comes up that automatically creates links, citations, and quotes that are ready to insert into a blog. A horizontal bar on the browser also can load photos from the photo-sharing site Flickr, so they can be simply dragged and dropped into the blog post.”

Extensions: The developers of Flock realize that having a good selection of extensions is important – so they have been working hard to supply them. Many of the useful ones are already there – but they are quick to note that not all of the Firefox extensions are compatable by default. However, developers have been working on a conversion tool that will change all that.

Bottom line: Flock is in pre-beta right now, so there are some glitches and areas where usablity can be improved – but overall it looks like the browser has a lot of potential. If most of your internet experience is confined to browsing, you will probably not find Flock useful enough to make a switch. However, if you spend a lot of time interacting with the internet via a blog or other community based activities, Flock may be just what you are looking for.

If you are interested in giving Flock a test run, you can download it here.

Source: Newsforge / Businesweek Online

Posted by Sean

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