Statistically, Flock (news, site) is like the little browser that could, but didn’t. Translate that into numbers and you get 7.5 million people that have downloaded the browser, but only 1.1 million that actively use it.
So, why does Flock keep Flopping? Well, we’re not really sure. Dubbed the social Web browser, Mozilla-powered Flock is made up of all the things we typically love: integrated social networking, micro-blogging, chat, etc. Will the newly released 2.5 version be enough to finally take flight? Let’s take a look at the fresh features:
- Twitter: From the Flock sidebar you can now read Twitter replies, save Twitter searches, reply to tweets, and click on Twitter links.
- Facebook: Facebook Chat is now a part of the flock! Users can use Facebook chat on any webpage and even drag and drop Web content into the chat program to share with others. No more browsing for files!
- Broadcast: A new feature called FlockCast enables users to broadcast messages to multiple social networks like Myspace, Facebook, Bebo, and Twitter with one click.
Good on Paper
For the people that are plugged into social networking like it’s life support, Flock is definitely a great tool. Everything you need is right at your fingertips, and you don’t have to worry about clicking back and forth between tabs or opening new windows to get your fix.
The new additions sound good for streamlining the updating process, and it’s notable that since Flock is built on the Firefox code base, all Firefox extensions are also supported by Flock and switching from one browser to the next is probably pretty painless.
The Social Paradox
The new updates are, of course, additions to Flock’s previous offerings which include Myspace integration, Media RSS and theme support. True, the browser is bursting at the seams with social goodness:
Flock 2.5 Screen Capture
Social networking and media are both blowing up big time, so in theory, a browser that combines all of our favorite related outlets is a good idea. Still, we can’t help but wonder if Flock’s shtick is also the reason behinds its inability to dazzle a mainstream audience. The image above shows a browser that is definitely fully loaded with features, but Google Chrome, a browser that doesn’t even allow add-ons or RSS, is the one with the growing audience.
So why is it that the majority of us prefer to leave our favorite spaces on the Web out of our core Web browsing experience? Are browsers like Flock doomed, or could the problem be solved by a simple UI change? Tell us what you think.
Bottom line for now: If you’re in the mood for something fast and easy, a solution like Chrome is the way to go; however, if social-everything is more your style, it looks like Flock is all you need.