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Still in beta, the new and cool social-themed browser, RockMelt (newssite) adds improved Gmail support, a speedy Chromium core and faster social interactions. Let's have a look.

Taking Beta Steps

RockMelt, a new browser with some serious backing, entered public beta a couple of weeks ago and has already released their first major update. As a Web browser, it is based on Google's Chromium engine and offers fast browsing with a twist -- social media features (such as Facebook and Twitter) can be instantly accessed in narrow strips down the side of the browser.

The update adds an improved Gmail notifier so you can instantly see messages as they hit your account,  an improvement on the previous slower RSS-based feature. Users can also now create new Tweets or Facebook updates directly, using buttons at the top of the appropriate pane.

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RockMelt makes sharing cool sites instantaneous
 

Improved Composition

Another new edition makes it easier to compose messages to friends. By clicking on their icon in one of the "edges", RockMelt calls the additional strips on the browser and chooses what to do via the context menu. Searching within your social sites is also easier, thanks to an additional filter box in the browser's usual Ctrl+F find function.

Additional improvements include improved invites and notifications from social sites and improved browser speed, thanks to the Chromium 7 update, which also boosts support for HTML5. The overall look also gets a boost with the choice to either show or hide the edges in both full-screen and windowed mode.

Squashing Bugs

A number of irritating bugs have also been fixed in the update, including a Windows-specific issue that affected users adding new Twitter accounts and Mac issues that affected bookmarks imported from Firefox. The best fix improves the function of the browser's Share button, making it better when you share videos from the likes of YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu, among others.

The browser will update automatically if you're already using it or you can install it from the site. If you don't have an invite for the beta, sign up -- the team says they are responding as fast as they can to invites. Have you tried RockMelt? What do you think? Will it replace your existing browser when it reaches a final release.