With all the rush into various forms of "social media" the task has become trying to find a way to harness it all, and make it easier to manage. Trying to keep track of friends is becoming increasingly complex, between blogs, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. There are several different aggregators out there that try to pull it all together for you, such as FriendFeed; but with their own comment systems that do not feedback into the original, they only seem to create yet another location that you need to check for friends and comments.
This is where the Flock Browser is supposed to come in. It is built on and functions very much like a standard standard Firefox Browser, which is both the source of its strength and a source of annoyance, since it is just different enough that plugins and skins you may wish to use with it may or may not work with Flock.
The browser has potential, and you can see how these would be an ideal solution for those of us that want to manage our social media, and still possibly have time left over to help the kids with their homework. Unfortunately, version 1.1 doesn’t seem quite ready for prime time quite yet, and some features are not quite full featured or half implemented.
For example, the Twitter feed is a unique implementation. It pulls and creates a box for each of your followers with their picture and last tweet. You can either leave them ordered by name (which is about as useless as can be unless you have nothing more than a handful of people you follow), or by most recent tweet. This is a fun way to use it as each person pops to the top when they tweet. However since there is no history of tweets, you can not scroll back to see a previous tweet, and much then click-through to open the web site. There are also a couple of bugs, such as any tweets or user name that contains extended characters (a music note, TM symbol, etc) breaks the feed until you restart.
The prominent base is supposed to be the My World Page. The page is broken down into ":widgets" for displaying certain features. Theoretically there will be more going forward but there appears to be currently three. The first which is like a headline reader from any rss source you choose, is functional, but only takes up one of the three columns (even if you aren’t using the other widgets) so again if you have more than a say 10 or so feeds you want headlined, you wind up scrolling a lot and lose the "at a glance" ease that it is supposed to give you.
There is currently only one theme for Flock, and that is a love it or hate it sort of look and feel. It is very compact, providing more real estate for your viewable space. But it has what I can only describe as a very "plastic" look to it. The best way I can describe it would be to say, imagine how toy knobs look on a children’s version of say a toy camera compared with a real one. The GUI though would not be a deal-breaker and I am sure sooner or later somebody will start crafting some themes for it, but in the mean time, it is just the final nit-pik on a browser that promises so much, but isn’t quite ready to deliver the goods. It is worth keeping an eye on after some bug fixes and perhaps some features get completed.