To Flock or not to Flock

January 3rd, 2006 by jeremychone

A few days ago a UK magazine posted a good article about Flock. As mentioned in the article, Flock is still in developer preview and therefore should be judged less by its bits quality and more by the idea it tries to convey. Flock’s vision of a more collaborative and event-driven Internet is probably undisputable. However, some of Flock’s premises have been subject to a flood of criticisms (e.g., Paul Kedrosky’s post,

Most of these criticisms seem to be based on the fact that Flock tries to provide an alternative "Web browser" application rather than providing extensions to existing browsers (e.g., a Firefox extension). Lately, the launch of a great Firefox extension Performancing (see Steve Rubel and O.M. Malik quick profile), which offers one of the core Flock’s functionalities by allowing users to blog "in the context" of their browsing experience, has revived the discussion. In a response to these last complaints, Chris from Flock, supported by Bart (Flock’s CEO), issued a good post giving a little more context behind Flock’s vision and direction.

As mentioned by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Flock’s Buzz might have come a little bit too early for the Bits, which is always a very dangerous position to be in. Also, Flock’s first audience, the Mozilla tech savvy crowd, was probably not especially receptive to the idea of another browser. I personally am a big fan of Mozilla Firefox, and while I have tested Flock developer preview release, I went back to Firefox since I have all my extensions set up.

However, I deeply believe in Flock’s idea. As Chris mentioned, Flock might or might not be the answer, but the point is that users need much more than a traditional Web browser to make the "Everybody-to-Everybody" Internet vision a reality. This new "Internet Companion" could come from the evolution of an existing Web browser, from a set of extensions, or from another application altogether: the way it gets here is less important than the things it will allow people to do. Obviously, this assumes the goal is to allow the "rest of us" to participate on the Internet.

So, the question is not "to Flock or not to Flock", but rather to believe that the way we will interact with the Internet in couple years will be substantially different from what we do today.

Also, I have had the privilege of meeting the Flock team on many occasions, and it is always refreshing to see a passionate and dedicated team so focused on accomplishing its vision. I would not be surprised if future versions of Flock will surprise us. And I definitely need this new "Internet Companion" for my grandmother and sisters.

6 Responses to “To Flock or not to Flock”

  1. FactoryCity Says:

    Jeremy Chone’s got our back

    Jeremy Chone of Bits and Buzz, has written a good recap of recent Flock news and added a nicely articulated point about the longer term goals of Flock. Give it a read.

  2. third Says:

    Good post, i

  3. Omar Upegui R. Says:

    Hi Jeremy:

    I fully agree with you that a web browser is not an end in itself. It’s a mean to reach an end. In this case, it’s an instrument that allows a person to communicate with others through the Internet. As Web2 evolves, browsers will have to adapt to this intensive sharing of images, words, and sounds in computers and cell phones and what have you.

    The Flock people designed a departure from traditional web browsers because they understood the trend of Internet behavior. They were right in integrating a blog editor inside the browser, as well as integrating Delicious and Flickr. That was a great step in the right direction.

    In my opinion, I didn’t like the Delicious bookmarks. I prefer the traditional Bookmarks because they are easier to manage and organize web sites. Delicious is chaos. One thing that I miss greatly, is a good speller. I hate typos and misspelled words. In Firefox I use Spellbound and it works fine. Another speller that I also use regularly is Google’s toolbar speller.

    One great feature of Flock is its speed. I use Firefox 1.5, Opera 8.5 and Internet Explorer 6.0 and all of them are slower than Flock. Right now Flock is a test product, and should be greatly improved when the final product is ready to hit the streets. Criticism for an incomplete product is unfair. Let’s wait until the end-product is out, and then put it under the microscope for a full scrutiny.

    Just my two cents worth on this excellent product,


  4. Le blog-notes de Ben » Archive du blog » On reparle de Flock Says:

    [...] Par ailleurs, Jeremy Chone a également écrit un billet sur cette question. [...]

  5. Sean Says:

    With so many browsers out there it makes me wonder at the future of issues with new cross-browser issues for website designers. Although, I have to admit the social networking aspect of flock gives it some leverage since social networking is so highly adopted, even on a business-to-business level. I found this site that also mentions social networking in general as a technology trend:

    Although the fact that flock comes from Mozilla makes me think that there really is a new contender against IE from being the long-standing primarily utilized browser.

  6. Tyrone Givins Says:

    I don’t know but I can tell you right now it is a nightmare trying to code things for both firefox and internet explorer. Should google’s chrome browser take off it’ll just magnify the amount of code we all have to worry about.