Opsware

What's in it for RockMelt?

November 8, 2010: 2:58 PM ET

The polished browser has gotten a lot of press for its social media integration and more efficient search features. Even more interesting though, is its untapped potential.

In a market that's been dominated by Mozilla, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) for years, it's counterintuitive, and that's being kind, for a new start-up to emerge with, of all things, a new browser.

But that's what the 30-man team of RockMelt did today when it emerged from stealth mode and released a beta for public consumption. Developed by former OpsWare execs Tim Howes and Eric Vishria, staffed with ex-Apple, Facebook and IDEO employees, and backed by, among others, Intuit founder Bill Campbell and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen to the tune of $10 million, RockMelt was built atop Google's Chrome platform. The secret sauce is that it integrates users' social media and media consumption into two slim bars on either side of the main browser window: Facebook feeds organized by top friends on the left side, and Twitter and top blogs on the right. Information is constantly pulled from the various channels and updated in near real-time. Search results are also pre-fetched, pre-rendered and presented in what the developers call a "floating window" that hovers below the search bar.

It's a clean, sleek solution that should appeal to heavy social media users who find themselves constantly switching between browser tabs and windows to check Facebook, Twitter, and blog updates. More

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