Facebook browser

Stay connected to Facebook while surfing the Web with this free integrated browser.

Facebook fanatics should check out RockMelt, a free Web browser that integrates Facebook in its features and interface. It's based on the same open-source browser kernel as Google Chrome, so it's fast and versatile. RockMelt displays your friends, services, and other Facebook features right inside its interface. It's incredibly easy to share stuff with friends, too. While RockMelt works perfectly well as an everyday browser, it's specially configured for Facebook users, and its integrated features may be less appealing to others.

When we opened RockMelt for the first time, the setup wizard contacted Facebook and offered to sign us in. While it's possible to skip this step by clicking Cancel and continuing the setup, two things nevertheless became apparent: 1) When RockMelt says it's integrated with Facebook, that's no idle boast; and 2) If you don't live on Facebook, this level of integration may not be welcome, for security reasons as much as for convenience.

Since RockMelt is based on the Chromium kernel, it has a familiar feel. It adds some unique features, such as slender sidebars for displaying online friends and status updates. We clicked the Quick Guide link, which focused on its unique Facebook-oriented features like Publish, for updating your Facebook page without leaving your current page; Add Apps, for adding extensions to the App Edge toolbar; and Share, which let us quickly share Web pages, including comments. You can search from the address bar, as in Chrome, or in a separate search field. A drop-down menu in the upper left corner gave us access to the full range of menus and options found in Chromium-based browsers.

RockMelt saves tons of time and effort over using Facebook via a conventional browser. But if you don't spend most of your online time on Facebook, its heavy level of integration and the associated privacy and security issues might be a drawback. The browser is a work in progress, too, and will doubtless change as Facebook changes. Facebook fans will Like it, we're guessing!

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