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RockMelt social browser launches in limited beta, we go hands-on

Been thinking that Firefox or Chrome browser of yours just isn't, say, social enough? Probably not, but RockMelt is hoping that's exactly what you'll think after you try out its web browser. The Mountain View startup, which is backed by web bigwigs such as Marc Andreeseen, has just released its new browser in a limited beta today, and it's -- as you probably may have guessed -- built entirely around social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Using Chromium at its core, the browser naturally looks and feels a lot Chrome -- fret not, Incognito mode is still there -- but there are some clear interface tweaks. As you can see in the screenshot above, the left edge integrates your Facebook friends so you can chat, send messages or check out status updates no matter what site you're visiting. (Oddly, there doesn't seem to be a way to poke from the interface! Blasphemy!) The right column is meant for Twitter and RSS feeds -- both are updated in the background and use "push notifications" to let you know how many unread messages or posts you've got piling up. You can update your statuses from both rails as well as share the site you are reading by just hitting the large share button to the left of the search bar. It's all fairly straightforward and actually works quite well.

However, RockMelt is pitching itself as more than just a sharing platform -- it also claims to have improved the speed and ease of search. Instead of the search box taking you to a Google search page, it brings up the results in a box of its own and allows you to visit the different sites within the browser window -- basically, you don't have to keep clicking back and forth from that Google search page. It's fairly neat, and actually does seem rather snappy. So, when can you try out RockMelt yourself? We wish we had better news, but it's in a limited beta for both Mac and PC, so your best bet is to head over to the source link and give away your Facebook details (if you're cool with forking over that info). Based on our first impressions, it's definitely worth putting your name in the running. %Gallery-106934%

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RockMelt Re-Imagines the Browser Around Friends, Feeds, and Sharing
Innovative New Browser Builds on Facebook®, Twitter® & Google

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – November 8, 2010 – RockMelt announced limited beta availability of its new browser, designed for how people use the Web today. The company has re-imagined the browser for modern Web users, building in the Web's most popular services. RockMelt enables you to interact and share with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other sites instantly from anywhere on the Web. RockMelt is built on top of Chromium, the open source project behind Google Chrome™, making it fast, secure, and reliable.

RockMelt was founded by Tim Howes and Eric Vishria in November 2008, and is backed by some of the Web's greatest innovators, including the father of the browser, Marc Andreessen.

To sign up for a beta invitation go to

"Today's Web users need a browser that does more than just navigate pages. RockMelt helps people do the things they do every single day – keep up with their friends, share, get updates, and search," said Vishria, RockMelt's co-founder and CEO. "We are very excited to begin offering early access to the RockMelt beta as we begin the race to our first million users."

"RockMelt is onto something huge. They've rethought the browser around the massive shifts in user behavior that will drive the Web over the next decade," said Andreessen, general partner, Andreessen Horowitz. "RockMelt is the freshest, most innovative take on browsing since browsers were created. Eric and Tim have built a stellar team that will continue delivering breakthrough innovations."

A New, Personalized Browser Backed by a Cloud Service
RockMelt has re-imagined the browser experience around how people use the Web today. Logging into RockMelt, through Facebook Platform, unlocks your personal Web experience, where you'll find Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social and Web services directly integrated into the browser. Your friends, feeds, and favorite services are always available, wherever you are online. And because RockMelt is the first browser backed by a cloud service, the experience can go wherever you go.

Key Features of the New RockMelt Browser

RockMelt's key features include:

· Your Friends. RockMelt integrates your Facebook friends directly into the browser, so you're always ready to chat, share a video, or keep up on what your friends are doing, wherever you are on the Web.

· Easier, Faster Sharing. RockMelt builds sharing directly into the browser, allowing you to update status, tweet, or share content on Facebook, Twitter and other services with just one click. No more wading through a different share widget on each site, or copy-pasting URLs.

· Your Favorite Sites. RockMelt is the first browser with push notifications. It keeps track of your favorite sites for you, alerting you when a new story comes out, a friend posts new pictures, or a new video is available, freeing you up from checking the same sites multiple times a day.

· Speedy Search. RockMelt has completely rethought the search experience in the browser, enabling you to get to the right search result radically faster. You get the same great results and suggestions from Google, but RockMelt allows you to quickly flip through results and find just the one you want, without having to click back and forth through a laundry list of URLs.

RockMelt is available for both Mac and Windows.

A Safe, Secure and Fast Web Browser, Built on Chromium
In addition to leveraging Chromium, the foundation of Google Chrome, RockMelt also utilizes open APIs that enable powerful, stable integration with the services people love from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others.

"RockMelt simply would not be possible without all the great work that has come before us. In particular, we'd like to thank Google for the Chromium open source project, Apple for starting WebKit, and Facebook and Twitter for their APIs, help and support. We are proud and deeply grateful to be able to build on the shoulders of these and other giants," said Tim Howes, RockMelt's Chairman, CTO and co-founder.

RockMelt Backed by Industry Innovators
Along with Andreessen, RockMelt is backed by some of the technology industry's greatest innovators, including Bill Campbell, chairman of the board and former CEO of Intuit, and Apple board member; Ron Conway, legendary angel investor in Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others; Diane Green, co-founder and former CEO of VMWare; Ben Horowitz, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and former CEO of Opsware; and Josh Kopelman, managing partner at First Round Capital.

For more information, images and product demo, please visit Read the RockMelt blog and learn more about the company on the RockMelt Facebook fan page or by following RockMelt on Twitter.

About RockMelt

RockMelt's mission is to make the Web easier, faster, and more fun. Founded in November 2008 by Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, the company has re-imagined the browser around how people use the Web today. RockMelt launched a private beta of the RockMelt browser in November 2010. RockMelt is based in Mountain View, CA and backed by Marc Andreessen, Bill Campbell, Ron Conway, Diane Green, Ben Horowitz and Josh Kopelman.

Disclaimer: Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc. Twitter® is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc. All other product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks referred to herein are the property of their respective trademark owners.