Based on Chromium, socially-focused web browser RockMelt (news, site) has grabbed plenty of attention during its private beta, but now it's open for everyone to try.

Doing the Basics

Strip everything down and RockMelt is just another browser that has tacked your friends and feeds from Facebook, Twitter and other social sites around the edges. But the added immediacy and the grace with which it feeds you information makes it so much more than just another browser, positively encouraging web engagement.

Now, everyone can try the new beta version out, as the project emerges from an invite-only status to the full public glare. There have been many improvements since our first look, late last year. It now sports a Quick Launch feature, so all your logging-in is automatic, and there's a YouTube app that can manage playlists and show videos as a tab on the edge of your browser.

Behind the Rockface

RockMelt has also kept up-to-date with its Chromium roots, now running on Chromium 9 for improved browser performance and multimedia support. While there are plenty of browsers using Chromium, this is one of the few that seems to have a spark of fun in its heart (perhaps along with Flock) while others aim for extra security or user protection.

Perhaps most important though, RockMelt is a browser that takes its audience seriously and is responsive to feedback. There is plenty of activity from the makers on their blog, Twitter and Facebook page. Users are quick to make suggestions and requests for improvements, and the developers seem to be doing their best (within the restrictions of time and a deluge of requests) to respond to feedback and be involved.

Edging Their Bets

With almost US$ 10 million in funding behind it, there is a lot of expectation for RockMelt to succeed in a market dominated by giants. Certainly, there is plenty of potential for revenue tied into what could be shown on its ever-so-useful edges. 

It'll be fun to watch the company and its product develop and see how things turn out, but for now, download RockMelt and see your social connections spring into life, without burying your browser in tabs, logins and other hassles.