Flock – Social Browsing is Cool

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Company: Flock
Launched: in private beta
Status: Funded/Incubated by Bessemer Venture Partners
Location: Palo Alto

Overview

Flock is a new browser, built on top of firefox. It is a functional browser with excellent features (including firefox features like tabbed browsing, etc.). What really makes is stand out are two additional features they’ve added to build social networking directly into the browsing experience: social bookmarking and a wysiwyg blog writing tool.

Flock was originally called Round Two and raised money (reportedly around $1 million) from Bessemer Venture Partners. For more on the fundraising and early reports, see Om Malik and SiliconBeat.

We got our first look at Flock at Bar Camp last weekend – Andy Smith and Chris Messina gave a great demo. Our beta invitation came that weekend as well.

Flock should be launching publicly sometime in September. They have windows, mac and linux versions of their browser already.

Social Bookmarking

Flock has integrated del.icio.us-type features right into the browser. When you are on a page you would like to bookmark, simply press a “+” button on the top left of the toolbar and the page is automatically included in your bookmark area (called your “breadcrumbs”). You can also tag bookmarks, of course.

Additional features include your “watchlist” (people who’s bookmarks you would like to monitor), and “groups” (basically, defined groups of flockers linking to this category).

Breadcrumbs, Watchlists and Groups all have RSS feeds (of course).

Blogging Tool

This is pure magic. We’ve tested most blogging tools out there, including qumana (the best in our opinion – profiled here and here), blogjet (Jeff Clavier likes this one) and others. All of these requre a download and allow offline drafting and wysiwyg functionality.

I have to say I think Flock blows them all away. I’m dying to show a screen shot, but Flock has asked it’s beta testers not to (so ignore the very, very small screen shot above). To show this right now would be pushing the limits of their trust, so I won’t.

But it rocks. Setup was very easy (I tested it with my personal blog). It has functionality for editing posts (even posts not created with Flock), quick toggle between preview and viewing the actual code, and, the best feature in my opinion, the ability to simply drag flickr photos direclty into the post and manipulate them. They also allow quick and easy technorati tagging. Wow. I mean, really, wow. This stuff is not trivial to build. The ajax funtionality is stunning.

Team

Bart Decrem is Flock’s CEO and co-founder. The rest of the team includes:

Link

Additional Reading

Roland Tanglao has an exellent early review. Also see: Greg Yardley, SolutionWatch, Micha Hernandez, Will Pate, InternetWeek, IOError

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