My beautiful browser

Tara Brady
21 October, 2011
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Ever since Lion hit our screens we at Macworld Australia have been through a browser Dark Age. Grace, our assistant editor, has described her use of Firefox as a failing relationship and finally feels its time to move on. Editor-in-chief Dave, on the other hand, is fine using Safari, happy to keep from dipping a toe into the unknown but missing out on a lot of functionality.

I have been sitting in the corner thinking to myself that I’m extremely happy with my Chromium-based browser, RockMelt. I used to be pro- Safari due to the fact it was made by Apple, but after giving Chrome a chance I could never go back to not being able to search within the URL bar.

RockMelt is a relatively new addition to the browser market but has quickly become my most-used app. Not only does it provide me with the features of a regular browser, RockMelt also feeds my addiction to social networking while increasing my productivity.

RockMelt lives in the cloud. This allows your ‘browser experience’ to be, in a way, profiled. Your settings, bookmarks, etc, are all backed up online. Using Facebook for authentication, your user environment can be replicated anywhere RockMelt is installed.

Users of Google Chrome will feel at home because RockMelt is built on Chromium, the open-source project behind Google’s browser. The major difference is the columns running down each side of the browser – one for extensions and apps and the other for Facebook.

The latter makes it easy to communicate with contacts without having to open a new tab/window, or access Facebook’s actual website.

The ability to create your own favourites list, post to a contact’s wall or message them within RockMelt, without having to leave the page you are on, is fantastic.

RockMelt also integrates as many Twitter accounts as you like. The Twitter pop-out window contains everything you would want from a Twitter client; access to your feed, mentions, direct messages and search/follow options.

Even Google searches are out of the way. The search bar pops-up a small drop-down window with search results, which makes it no longer necessary to open a whole new tab/window.

For those times when you just want to search without getting social networking reminders, there is a one- click ‘Quiet Mode’. This is completely customisable and lets you stop side notifications, close the sidebars, change your chat status and more.

Another area where RockMelt’s cloud is put to clever use is the Bookmarks bar. Your bookmarks are updated from the cloud, so content is cached and waiting for you when you log on.

All in all, RockMelt is an interesting twist on the browsing experience. The social elements of the browser make for a compelling and streamlined online interaction process. Because it’s powered by Chromium, it not only supports Chrome extensions, it’s also guaranteed to support the latest and greatest aspects of the web, like HTML5 and CSS3.

Why not this one Grace? It won’t only be a rebound but will become a long-lasting loyal relationship. Dave, you yourself said social networking was distracting you – why not integrate it all into your browser and take advantage of the peace ‘quiet mode’ gives you?

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