Flock has the potential to be one of the coolest applications of 2006. This is assuming, of course, a final release gets out the door next year. I tried out their first developer preview release, but some major issues left it pretty useless to me.
Yesterday, I tried out the latest snapshot build, and I'm very impressed with how far the application has come. For those of you that haven't heard of Flock, it's a new browser built on top of firefox and has some features that have really pulled me in:
- Tight integration with external services (delicious, flickr, most blogging software)
Search toolbar automatically searches recently viewed pages. Very Google Desktop like, but why in the world is the default search engine Yahoo?!
Flock makes all of these "geek tools" extremely easy to use. I would almost recommend this browser to my techno-phobic parents!
There are still a few areas that I think could use improvements, especially the blogging client. Flock wasn't able to automatically configure my jroller blog, and it also published my blog with an empty title.
Flock has also replaced the very intuitive firefox "side bar" with the notion of a "top bar". I think this is a big mistake. This new top bar makes it even more confusing for users to differentiate the browser tools (navigation bar, url, buttons) from web page content. Viewing bookmarks in firefox, using the sweet foxilicious plug in, is much less intrusive than how Flock only displays bookmarks in a separate tab. I think several of Flock's flagship tools would be better off utilizing the side bar feature that has worked so well for firefox (shelf, flickr photo uploading, blogging tools).
Flock has taken a fresh approach to many tried and true browser concepts, such as bookmarks. First and foremost, I think it's time to rethink the concept of a browser download manager. Why hasn't bittorrent been integrated into any major browser? Flock has been titled the "social browser", and bittorrent seems to be a perfect fit.
NOTE: This blog was created and published using Flock's built in blogging client. (very cool!)