Netscape founder and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen is back in the web browser rink with Rockmelt, a new browser that integrates search with Facebook. Rockmelt features your social networking activity on sidebars while you browse the Web. It also purports to simplify search by letting you preview webpages from your browser window before deciding to navigate into them. PCWorld describes Rockmelt:
You can use Rockmelt as you would any normal Web browser by just firing it up and surfing the Web. But Rockmelt’s real power is unlocked when you log into the browser using your Facebook ID. This allows the browser to display a list of your Facebook friends in a slim sidebar on the left side of the browser window; feeds from your favorite sites in a sidebar on the right; and stores your browser bookmarks and preferences.
On the left side of your browser window is a thin sidebar that lists the Facebook profile pictures of your “favorite” Facebook friends….As you hover over each picture in the left sidebar you see a summary of their latest Facebook activity, such as whether they have an updated status or how many photos they’ve uploaded recently. Clicking on the profile photo opens a small pop-up window where you can see their recent Facebook activity at the top along with a chat area on the bottom for instant messaging.
On the other side of your browser window is a second sidebar where you can get feeds from your favorite sites…You can also add other social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Read more about Rockmelt here.
If you look at the demo, the browser does integrate multiple functions nicely. But I’m not sure how this is different from another browser with widgets or plugins. I guess some hardcore Facebook fans may pick it up, but I don’t see it going far beyond early adopters.