Friday, October 21, 2005

Flock Browser Debuts: Combining Social Bookmarking with Feeds and Web Aggregation

The new Flock browser has made its pre-release developers' debut and is available for download. The browser's source code is also available for download for those wanting to tinker and improve on its capabilities. Flock's premise is straightforward: make it easy for people to use and interact with user-generated media. The browser's very intuitive bookmark function can save a user's favorite sources to their account, thus allowing bookmarks to be shared instantly with anyone using this service. You can also build special lists of items about which you want to blog and grab photos from Flikr. But the most interesting aspect of Flock is that it makes it easy to create personal aggregations of content from weblog feeds - it's as simple as adding a bookmark in most instances. Editing a weblog can be done within Flock also.

In truth Flock is not doing anything that other services aren't providing already in their online services or via components that can be dropped in to existing browsers. The power in this still-thinking-about-the-business-plan effort is to see how content aggregation and authoring by individuals is becoming the center of people's content experiences. The browser remains the least common denominator for most people's electronic content experiences today and is likely to remain so as more sophisticated tools come along to make the experience even more intuitive. As for Flock itself, its reality is a little humbler than the Web 2.0 hype that has surrounded its debut. Think of it as an early demo of where future content aggregation and creation desktop products are heading in the era of user-generated media. Much more exciting things to come, perhaps from Flock itself but just as easily from elsewhere, given its public license.
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