Rockmelt: The ‘social’ web browser with heavyweight backing

RockMelt, a new web browser that connects search and social networking, launched on Monday with backing from the co-founder of one of the world’s first browsers, Netscape.

RockMelt, now available as an invite-only beta, is vying to make a mark in a crowded Web browser arena that already features Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.

The browser is backed by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and several other Web luminaries including Bill Campbell, the former chief executive of Intuit, and Ron Conway, whose investments include Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Based in Mountain View, California, home to Google, RockMelt claimed 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,” it said in a statement.

“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.”

RockMelt displays a user’s social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in a margin on the right hand side of the page and friends on the left hand side.

“Today’s Web users need a browser that does more than just navigate pages,” said RockMelt co-founder and chief executive Eric Vishria. “RockMelt helps people do the things they do every single day — keep up with their friends, share, get updates, and search.”

The company adds that RockMelt “makes the Web a personal experience”.

“Because RockMelt is the first browser you log into, it unlocks your Web experience with your Facebook friends, your feeds, your favorite services, even your bookmarks and preferences. RockMelt is also the first browser to be fully backed by the cloud. This means you can access your personal browsing experience from anywhere, and you get quick updates from the people and sites that are important to you,” the company noted on its official blog.

Andreessen, who launched a venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, in July, said “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,” he said.

“RockMelt is the freshest, most innovative take on browsing since browsers were created,” added Andreessen, who launched Netscape in 1994 and sold it to AOL four years later.

RockMelt is built on top of Chromium, the open source project behind Google’s Chrome.

RockMelt also claims to make searching “faster and better”.

“We got tired of clicking back and forth trying to find the right search result. So we made search as simple as leafing through a magazine. With RockMelt, you can use your keyboard to flip through Google search results and pick the one you want…”

  • Invitations to use the beta version are available at
  • Follow Rockmelt on Twitter
  • Rockmelt on Facebook.

    – Own reporter and AFP

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