A couple of months ago, Rockmelt, the social web browser, arrived in an iPad version which had little in common with the PC/Mac edition — or, for that matter, with any conventional browser.
Rather than dedicating itself primarily to helping you navigate your way around the web on your own, it focused on helping you find content to consume, including stuff shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter. And it did so with a slick interface that had as much in common with Pinterest and Flipboard as it did with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
Today, the Rockmelt folks have released an iPhone version which takes all the ideas in the iPad one, scales them down to a phone-friendly size and keeps the highly-polished feel. The company provided me with early access to the new app, and I've been enjoying using it.
Finally. Rockmelt is doing what I wished it’d done back in October: Putting its gorgeous, content-filled browser on the iPhone.
I realize it’s only been a few months but: WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?
RockMelt - Your Browser. Re-Imagined.
Rockmelt CEO Eric Vishria discusses creating a new browser for the future. He speaks with Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock.
A social web browser. It sounds like a cool idea for a product. I first got excited about the concept years ago, when I tried a browser called Flock, which started as a Firefox variant and then became a radically different beast based on Chrome underpinnings before disappearing altogether.
When Marc Andreessen co-created the original graphical browser in the early 1990s — the application that lit the fuse for the World Wide Web explosion — he had no inkling how the web would be used. “We had no idea about e-commerce or social or games or music or any of the stuff people ended up doing. So our browser was a blank slate.”
Eric Vishria is an entrepreneurs’ entrepreneur. Honed in the Ben Horowitz school of management at Opsware– he knows the true hell and elation that is building a company. During a low moment at his company, RockMelt, he gave a rousing speech and sported an army jacket around the office to emphasize the whole wartime CEO bit. And so when Vishria tells me that RockMelt has gone all-in during a company-wide, eight-month effort to build the latest version of its browser, I don’t doubt his intensity. "There is no backup plan," he says.
Most mobile browsers set out to recreate the experience of browsing from an actual computer, albeit a computer with just with just a touch interface and smaller screen. However, Eric Vishira, CEO and co-founder of RockMelt, noted that the average internet user does not do his heavy browsing on the phone. RockMelt, an iPhone app, combines a web search and browsing experience, with a mobile version of RockMelt’s “App Edge”, where you can see updates from your favorite websites.
RockMelt started developing its social browser in 2009, and went into private beta in November 2010. At the time, the word of mouth buzz made it something worth checking out, but didn't really stick. It had nothing to do with the product though, it turns out that RockMelt was about three years ahead of its time.
The United States seems stuck with a two-party political system. We don't always have the same two parties?the Whigs were replaced by the Republicans in the 1850s, for example-- but there doesn't seem to be space in the American psyche for a third major player to take root.
RockMelt front-end engineer Devon Rifkin is just months out of college. But already he's making a big impact on a hot new browser that directly integrates some of the main Facebook and Twitter features.
RockMelt Browser FULL Review! The Best Features Sharing, The New Search, Apps & Feeds & MORE!
After all, PC browsers are so five years ago. Sure, FireFox was exciting back when it was first challenging Microsoft's Internet Explorer [MSFT 31.19 -0.26 (-0.83%) ], and Apple [AAPL 700.095 1.395 (+0.2%) ] and Google [GOOG 733.99 5.8734 (+0.81%) ] have done nice work with Safari and Chrome. But I don't think anyone would argue that browsers are anywhere near the top of the list of exciting things Apple, Google and Microsoft are working on. The buzz is in smartphones and cloud services. Browsers? *Yawn.*
Is there a future for social browser startup RockMelt? Despite attracting only a few hundred thousand active users since its much-hyped launch, the company filled with ex-Netscape rockstars and backed by former Netscape founder Marc Andreessen just managed to raise another $30 million in a B round led by Accel Partners and Khosla Ventures, with Andreessen Horowitz, Ron Conway, Bill Campbell and Josh Kopelman also participating. Jim Breyer of Accel and Vinod Khosla will be joining the board as observers. That's some pretty serious money.
Ever since RockMelt launched its social browser, it's been known unofficially as the Facebook browser. Facebook chat, status updates and sharing are all built right into the browser. Now Facebook and RockMelt are officially working together in a product partnership, and the first fruits of that collaboration can be seen in the latest release available today, RockMelt 3.
Received $30M Series B Funding
Participation Accel Partners, Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, First Round Capital
Eric Vishria, co-founder and chief executive officer of RockMelt Inc., talks about the possibility that the company may be sold. Vishria also discusses RockMelt's Web browser, growth potential and investors. He speaks with Jon Elrichman on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West."
RockMelt, the social browser, came out with an iPhone app today. If you are familiar with RockMelt, which opened up publicly last month after much of its initial fanfare died down, it adds feeds and streams along the righthand rail. RockMelt Mobile is essentially this right-hand rail repackaged as a mobile app.
I'm talking about RockMelt, the latest attention-grabbing Web browser that continuously displays information from Facebook, Twitter and news feeds on the left and right edges of its browser window. It lets users instantly share Web content with their social networks, or chat with Facebook friends without ever opening the Facebook site. And RockMelt, which was released to the public last month, runs on the same technical underpinnings as the Google Chrome browser, giving it the ability to run any of Google's 3,700 Web Store apps within the browser.
When RockMelt launched its new browser in private beta last November, it was greeted with an avalanche of press. RockMelt is a new social browser built around Facebook, realtime feeds, and faster search. The fact that Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is a major backer probably had something to do with the intense interest also.
RockMelt is a new browser, made for people who live on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Here's the interview I had Friday with the founders.
Silicon Valley is awash in tales of the “PayPal Mafia,” the tight-knit group of PayPal alumni who have helped one another start and finance a crop of new companies.
This post is part of an ongoing effort to crowd-source a repeating feature in Forbes magazine entitled Names You Need to Know. We are looking for the people, places, products and ideas that will have significant impact in the near future. Join the ongoing conversation here.
Received $8.2M Series A Funding
Participation Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Bill Campbell, Diane Greene
Received $1.68M Seed Funding
Participation Marc Andreessen, Bill Campbell, Ron Conway, Diane Greene, First Round Capital