Call me a Luddite, but this strikes me as a ghastly addition to the Web’s arsenal. (Link via Slashdot, which is probably why — right now — trying to see anything beyond that ridiculous home page times out.)
Because I can’t see anything else about it, I can’t comment specifically on any Flock “features.” (If you likewise are locked out, you might get a good sense of what to expect from the Slashdot comments.) In a way, though, I don’t need to see anything specific: the whole idea stinks.
Yes, competition is important. Yes, the more players in any given arena, the more “interesting” the subsequent face-offs. No, I don’t believe Firefox or (God knows) IE or Opera have solved all the problems of Web browsing. But I can’t help thinking, “What are the Flock developers thinking?” A clue is offered by the Business Week article referenced in the Slashdot post:
Flock’s browser is built specifically for a new, emerging generation of Web users, one that isn’t satisfied passively browsing media online.
Flock hopes to turn the browser into a dashboard for collaborating, blogging, sharing photos, reveling in a raft of other group activities that have recently caught fire online.
Among the Flock design goals, evidently, are these:
- Simplified blogging
- Simplified del.icio.us bookmarking
- “…serve less as a window into static Web content than as a customizable conduit for participatory Web services, from Flickr to del.icio.us to the collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia.”
Business Week also reports:
Even in raw test mode, Flock and its blogging tools in particular are drawing rave reviews from tech-savvy users. “Pure magic,” says J. Michael Arrington, general partner at Archimedes Ventures, who co-writes the blog TechCrunch. “It’s a beautiful application, and they’re a bunch of smart guys.” Even Robert Scoble, Microsoft’s most famous blogger, has called the Flock browser “awesome.”
None of which, per se, renders the whole flocking thing uninteresting. No, my objection is more along the lines of: does the world really need another browser?
Especially objectionable, in my eyes, is that key members of the Flock team evidently participated in Firefox’s development. So, then, uh, why not extend Firefox? Why make it likely that users are going to get even further confused by the browser choices available to them?
And why — please, please, why — would these people build a browser (and a Web site) that apparently does not feature standards compliance as a critical driving force?
So, am I nuts?