RockMelt: A Browser For Social Media Addicts

If you are the type of person who can’t live without internet, wake up every morning and check your Facebook account before having coffee, always tweet a new update every 15 minutes and have a large circle of friends on social media websites – you are going to love RockMelt.

RockMelt is a new web browser, backed by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, which aims to bridge the gap between social sharing and web surfing. The browser is build around your social circle, feeds, search results and friends.

Request an Invite To Download Rockmelt

Rockmelt has recently entered a public beta but you will need an invitation to download the application. To request a free invite, head over to the RockMelt website and connect your Facebook account.

Rockmelt Download

You will soon receive an email invitation with a link to download RockMelt for free. Once the setup file has been downloaded to your computer, double click to launch the web installer – yes you will need an internet connection to install Rockmelt (just like Google Chrome).

Installing Rockmelt

Getting Started with Rockmelt

When you run the browser for the first time, you will be asked to sign in with your Facebook account and grant all the required permissions.

Rockmelt Login - Connect With your Facebook account

The browser will continuously check your Facebook news feed among other connected sites, hence you should not revoke the permissions later.

Rockmelt completely mimics the look and functionality of Google Chrome. The browser has three main panels – one each to the right, left and top. The right panel is for connected sites, the left panel for social friends while the top panel is for search results and feeds.

Your Facebook Friends Panel in Rockmelt

The left panel of Rockmelt revolves around your Facebook friends, you can create a list of favorite Facebook friends, read their latest status updates and do a lot of other interesting things.

Rockmelt Facebook friends panel

Clicking a friends thumbnail shows you more options – you can start a chat right away without logging in to your Facebook account. The person need not necessarily be using the RockMelt browser, he will receive your chat message on his Facebook profile or any desktop client he might be using.

Chatting With Facebook friends from Rockmelt Panel

There are other useful options as well, navigate to the “Recent Activity” tab and you can see the recent links shared by your friend on his profile. You can click through any shared link, image, video and it will open in a new browser tab.

Double click the profile thumbnail to open your friends Facebook profile on a new tab. You may hit the “Write” button to write a message on your friends wall or send a direct message.

Rockmelt - Write on Facebook Wall, share links and comments

You can again “Like” an update or post comment directly from the RockMelt window, it’s very sleek and fun to play around with.

The browser will also show live desktop notifications near windows system tray, whenever there is a new status update from a friend or someone sends you an IM. These desktop notifications can be turned off from the browser’s preferences and you can completely customize which notifications you want to see.

RockMelt Notifications

Should you want to take a quick look at your Facebook news feed, simply hit the Facebook icon at the right of the browser window. This will open a small pop upĀ  with all the links, posts, videos and images shared on your Facebook wall.

Rockmelt Facebook News feed

Adding Connected Sites And Feeds in Rockmelt

Social media is not only about people but also about the websites you visit on a regular basis. If you read a lot of articles on blogs, RSS feeds and watch YouTube videos – RockMelt’s connected sites panel will come in handy.

Rockmelt Connected Sites

The connected sites panel is on the right side and lets you do a few important things. First, you can add RSS feeds from blogs, websites and other sources and read them one by one on an overlay window. You may also add your other social networking profiles e.g YouTube channel, Twitter account or Friendfeed lifestream and then read the corresponding updates in their own overlay window.

For example: I added the Maketecheasier RSS feed as one of the sites and now I can read the recent articles in a new overlay window:

RockMelt read RSS feeds

Agree this is no alternative of a full featured RSS reader like Feeddemon or Google reader but can be useful if you follow a handful of blogs and want to read the updates directly from the browser’s sidebar. The social sharing options are also tightly integrated, hit the share button next to any feed item and the blog post is shared over your Facebook wall, with your custom comment of course.

Whenever there is a new update on any of your connected sites, a notification is shown in another overlay pop up. This differentiates the connected sites panel with your bookmarks toolbar, which sadly never shows any notification or recent updates.

Using RockMelts Search Bar And Sharing Features

One of the nice things about RockMelt is the ability to preview search results directly from the browser’s search bar. Type a keyword or a phrase and hit the return key to preview Google search results on a browser overlay, as shown below:

RockMelt Search Results

You can again use the “Share” button place just right to the address bar to share any webpage on your Facebook wall. The webpage can either be shared as a link or can be sent as a message to selected Facebook friends.

All in all, RockMelt is a must used browser if you do a lot of social sharing and use Facebook as the primary medium for online marketing. It doesn’t get better than this – from surfing websites to sharing links to getting instant notifications, RockMelt will keep you ahead of the curve.

Try out RockMelt today, if you do not have an invite yet – ask some of your Facebook friends because chances are that they have already given RockMelt a try.

Soumen Halder

Soumen is the founder/author for Ampercent, a tech blog that writes on computer tricks, free online tools & software guides.

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