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Flock: Social Network Aggregator?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 17, 2007

I’ve occasionally used Flock, the Web browser you’ve probably never heard of, but hadn’t had a compelling reason to do so regularly. Today at TechCrunch40, Flock CEO Shawn Hardin demonstrated Flock’s new browser that finally came out of its beta test period. The most interesting thing to me is the sidebar down the left where you can see all your friends from Facebook and Flickr. The key features according to Flock:

* People – Flock automatically integrates the user’s friends from services such as Facebook and Flickr, and pulls them into the browser so they can be accessed at any time. The user can see when their friends have updated their profiles and media, access their shared media, share web content with them, and communicate with them effortlessly across services.

* Media – Flock’s Media MiniBar presents a scrollable filmstrip view of photo and video streams from YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, Piczo, Truveo and other services that provide a feed of media content. Users can drag and drop items from the media bar onto friends, blogs or email for immediate and effortless sharing.

* Share and Discover – Flock also helps people to discover photos, videos, feeds and people by detecting them on supported services where they can be activated or shared in some way. When any of these items are available, an icon in the browser lights up to show that Flock has sensed them, allowing the user to collect, favorite or share items of interest.

The reason I find this interesting is the social networking overload I’ve run into lately. Flock essentially provides a layer on top of potentially many social networks so you don’t have to go to each of them individually to find out what your friends are doing. That alone could be very valuable in a time when there’s literally a new social network or two launching every day. It could even potentially change the game in social networking, which seems to depend on the old gambit of persuading people to flock, as it were, in a single walled garden.

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Reader Comments

Richard Jones

September 19, 2007 09:51 AM

I really remembre Friendster starting this whole social networking bit that we have going now. Then MySpace and Facebook came along, though Facebook originally required a vaild school affiliated email address. Now MySpace has become one large advertisement with some of your contacts located between NetFlix and some other ad... I think it will be a while before we see the end of the droves of social networking sites showing up... especially with things like browsers and IM clients starting to cater to them.

Arvind S

April 17, 2008 02:43 AM

Although Flock is a broweser with a new user interface it runs pretty slow on ant takes time to download webpages. Now that there are several standalone application like Wikipad and instant messengers are availbale there is no compelling reason why I would like to use Flock. The antecedants of the browser can be traced back to Mozilla Firefox and likes. All in all Flcok is just another Flock and doesnot break away from the pack

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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