Vysr has launched a new version of its browser extension application, RoamAbout 2.0. The downloadable browser application, which is available for Firefox, Linux and Internet Explorer, allows you to integrate your favorite apps like Gmail, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook within the browser and then interact with the apps contextually while on any web site. We are offering 1000 private beta downloads here.
Launched last year, Vysr strengthened the browser plugin more recently by adding OpenSocial applications to the platform, letting third party developers deploy their applications on the browser extension. Once downloaded, the plug-in’s OpenBar sits at the bottom of your browser. RoamAbout 2.0 is a useful extension to your browser because it lets you see a constant stream of real-time information from social networks, email applications, RSS feeds, the latest and greatest YouTube videos and Google news.
On the bar at the bottom of your screen, you can get custom tailored updates from friends in your Facebook network, tweets from people you follow on Twitter, RSS feeds from your favorite blogs and news sites, and notifications when you get an email in your Gmail inbox. And you can get these non-intrusive updates while browsing on any webpage. RoamAbout basically eliminates the need to constantly switch to different tabs to check email, updates, and tweets. The notifier on RoamAbout OpenBar alerts you to events of interest from your apps such as new emails in your Gmail account, direct messages on Twitter, or status updates in Facebook.
RoamAbout also provides an easily personalized side application platform, called a “tray,” which can easily be collapsed, where you can access a snapshot any of your favorite applications or be led to the main page in another tab. RoamAbout currently has a choice of 46 applications that you can integrate with the plug-in, including Facebook status updates, Twitter, ESPN, Gmail notifications, GoogleMaps and more.
The RoamAbout application tray also enables applications to bring you content in the context of your web interest. Similar to the new “Accelerators” in IE8, applications can be launched in the context of the website you are on, or in the context of a word highlighted on the web page. The tray feature lets you do some pretty cool things. For example, if you highlight “Bill Gates” in a TechCrunch news post and then click on the YouTube app, related YouTube videos will be displayed right on the page. Or you can select location information on a web page, click on the Google maps app in the tray, and then share location information with friends on Facebook or Gmail contacts. You can also highlight any location on any webpage (i.e., San Francisco), click on the RoamAbout application “Fetch,” and then the app will return all Facebook friends who live in that location.
RoamAbout seems to be similar in a lot of ways to Flock, a social browser that also integrates email and social apps like Facebook and Twitter, except that RoamAbout isn’t a stand alone browser and is easily integrated into Firefox or IE. Founded by Guda Venkatesh, Vysr has several big-name investors and advisers in Silicon Valley, including investor Ron Conway and Rajeev Motwani, Stanford computer science professor and a member of the founding Google Research Team.
Here’s a screenshot of what RoamAbout 2.0 looks like on a Firefox browser: