RockMelt: A New Browser with a Social Network Bent

RockMelt, a startup backed by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, will unveil its new browser Monday, entering a market already dominated by Microsoft's (MSFT) Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google's (GOOG) fast-growing Chrome.

RockMelt claims that it is very different from its larger competition. It says that it "does more than just navigate Web pages. It makes it easy for you to do the things you do every single day on the Web: share and keep up with your friends, stay up-to-date on news and information, and search." The product is built on the Chromium open source platform, which was used to produce Chrome.

Sponsored Links

RockMelt is directly aimed at Web surfers who spend most of their time on social networks. "Your friends are important to you, so we built them in. Now you're able to chat, share that piano-playing-cat video everyone's going to love, or just see what your friends are up to, regardless of what site you're on. Your favorite sites are important to you, so we built them in too. Now you can access them from anywhere, without leaving the page you're on. And RockMelt will tell you when something new happens," the company's blog says.

RockMelt operates on the cloud, which means it can be instantly accessed from most computers and portable devices. The product has taken two years to build.

The question that the media and tech experts will ask over the next several days is whether RockMelt can make it in a market already controlled by three large browsers. Some may point to the success of Chrome, which has taken browser share quickly. But Chrome has the backing of Google's huge online presence which has helped drive downloads. RockMelt has no such distribution network.

And, that is RockMelt's enemy. It has no large online company to aid it with visibility and adoption.

Get info on stocks mentioned in this article: