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by Rob Williams on October 24, 2005 in Windows

There’s a new browser in town, and it has great potential if you use RSS feeds and other social networking sites regularly. Based on the Firefox browser, it should prove just as secure. Let’s check it out, and see if it has a chance to battle Firefox and Opera.

Introduction

There are a few things that you must know about Flock, before you decide to try it. Firstly, even though it’s based on Firefox, that does not mean you have to have a current Firefox installation. Flock is completely stand-alone, but uses the Firefox source code as a base. This is a smart move, as it’s already a reliable and very secure browser [to an extent] already.

What makes Flock different than most other browsers, is the integration of social bookmarking, photo sharing and of course, blogs. If you take part in these popular online activities, then that’s why you should give the browser a go. Personally, I don’t read or write any blogs, view any social bookmarking site or play around with photo sharing. Some of the screenshots will reflect this :)

Why Flock?

When you first open the browser, you are brought to a familiar “Get Started” page, which can help you get along if you don’t know what you are doing. You will likely want to at least read the “13 things you can do with Flock”.

The skin of the browser is identical to the Mac OS X applications theme, so this browser would really look great coinciding with that OS. The layout is very familiar to Firefox, even most of the options at the top are the same. One immediate difference is that they chose Yahoo! to be the default search for the quick search feature. Just like with Firefox though, you can click the Yahoo! logo to change back to Google or anything else.

Down with bookmarking.. up with starring

What you did with bookmarking, is now considered starring. This feature coincides with http://del.icio.us/, so you may as well go there to sign up, or forget about using Flock! In gist, del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website that allows you to recommend a link, and see if others enjoy the link also. In the end, the sites that attract the more users that like them, the more noticeable it is on the site.

I am an inexperienced user with del.icio.us, but was quite impressed with how the site works. For fun, I submitted our site, and it went off the front page within a minute. It certainly is an extremely fast moving site. At any rate, if you visit a site, you can Star it. This in turn, will automatically add that as a favorite to your del.icio.us account. When you access your bookmarks through Flock, all your del.icio.us links will be there.

Feed Flock.. it’s hungry.

RSS feeds are not dying off any time soon, because they are way too useful. For my testing, I chose to use digg.com, which is a user controlled news site.

After adding an RSS capable site to your del.icio.us account, you can access the RSS feed directly through your favorites manager. One thing I do like about Flock, is that while visiting a site, you can click to view it in RSS format instead, as you can see in the picture above. When you access the RSS feed through your favorites, it will be displayed the same way.


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