It must have been hard for the guys from Netscape to lose the browser war to such a crap product as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Nevertheless, Netscape’s principal players have put that indignity behind them and emerged with a new product that aims to fully integrate the web browser with social media.
Touted as a browser for the Facebook era, Rockmelt features two columns of icons that border the browser window – one listing your social media friends, the other displaying your favorite social media sites. A ‘share’ button allows users to instantly post web pages, videos, etc. to these social media sites, while adding/deleting/chatting with friends or tracking their updates on the other side.
The real challenge facing Rockmelt will be getting users to switch browsers, the most used application on most people’s computers. People tend to resist change. Even Chrome, which I personally use, has captured only 8% of the browser market in its two years of existence – and that’s with the monster marketing power of Google behind it.
Rockmelt is not even the first browser to attempt this type of social media integration. Ever heard of Flock? Well, neither has most of the rest of the online world, despite it being around for three years. So clearly, the hill that Rockmelt has chosen to climb is steep and possibly strewn with anti-personnel mines.
Obviously, online social media is here to stay, although the phenomenon itself really isn’t anything new. The current form is simply a technological extension of what tribes have been doing for millennia, except the tribe now spans the globe.
Online social media will be extremely important to the future of the online gaming industry, as whoever finds the right way to integrate the two will have a first mover advantage. To date, nobody has quite gotten it right, but someone will, and soon. I know for sure that Bodog Europe’s strategists are aggressively studying this as we speak.