November 24th, 2008



Flock is a newish web browser. It's like Firefox with a little tighter integration with your social sites: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. all go in a little sidebar and your friends' posts and your notifications and messages are combined, and it's got a webmail whatzit and a blog whatzit and an RSS feed whatzit. The default bookmark arrangement lets you use painlessly.

Things that suck:

- You can change the default search and completion options, but typing stuff in the URL bar always gets you stupid Yahoo! search (seriously, who uses Yahoo!?) instead of Google's I'm Feeling Lucky, so you can't just go to a site by typing its name or a familiar abbreviation anymore. (E.g., "qc" in Firefox gets me Questionable Content (neener neener, Quebec), but in Flock it gets me Big Dumb Yahoo! Search Page.)

Things that need work:

- No merged Webmail sidebar, just a little bookmarklet-type thing.

- Webmail, feeds, blogs, and social sites are all handled separately, so I have to interface with LJ as a blog site + an RSS feed of my flist rather than having it show me things the same way as Facebook and Twitter. (On the bright side, authenticated friends feeds work nicely with Flock's feed reader, so I can stop going directly to LJ's site.)

- No integration with Google Apps For Your Domain. I read my work email in my browser, and it's a GMail service, but Flock has no idea about it.

The big win is that it has mostly freed me from compulsive refreshing, because the little widgets tell me when there is something new—everywhere, not just most places like with other browsers. (Of course, now I will have to come up with some other compulsive behavior when I'm feeling ADD-y.) I expect to continue using it as my default browser.