RockMelt + Facebook = A New Social Browser In The Making?

Netscape Wunderkind Marc Andreessen 
Appears To Be On A Comeback Trail

It's interesting to note that yet another browser may hit the Internet trail. According to a NYTimes report, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen appears to be making a comeback, this time with a new browser called RockMelt.

Not much is revealed about RockMelt now, but the NYT indicates that the browser may be designed to display Facebook updates and other features catering to Web users.

Google introduced their Chrome browser last fall while recently Microsoft and Apple have brought out improved versions of their browsers, Internet Explorer and Safari respectively.

Although the NYT report says Facebook is "not aware of any details about RockMelt", the fact that this popular social networking site, which has over 250 million users, was mentioned will be enough to create some buzz.

Maybe Facebook is not telling but if there's going to be any tie-up at some point down the road, it will have something to do with a social browser.

Already, Flock is one such social browser incorporating Firefox features like its add-ons and some of the social networking features from Facebook, Twitter and others.

With Andreessen's backing in this new start-up, and he's on the board of Facebook, there has got to be more than meets the eye.

Browser Wars

Will it be a surprise if the man, who once pioneered the Netscape browser,  has something up his sleeves? And, maybe, he's aiming for a rematch with Microsoft.

Remember the so-called browser wars of the 1990s when Microsoft took on Netscape which introduced millions to the Internet? Well, Microsoft won the war in the end. And today, Netscape is off the Internet map.

Meanwhile, Mozilla Firefox has made great inroads as a browser of choice for many users since its introduction in 2004, capturing 23 percent of the market and forcing Microsoft's share to drop to 68 per cent.

In its heydays, Microsoft dominated with more than 90 percent of the browser market.

It would also be interesting to see how Google move into contention. The Mountain View giant has garnered over 30 million users for its Chrome browser following its launch last year.

Google is looking at the "cloud-computing" approach when it recently stated its intention to introduce a new operating system called Chrome OS that will support its browser.

Its official blog post says: "We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the Web - searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends."

If Andreessen remains true to form as the comeback kid with RockMelt, who knows, a new browser war may well be on the horizon. We just have to wait and see. - Markk


What's Eating The Associated Press?

As we all know, it is common practice for bloggers to quote and link to some articles or news stories published by those big boys in the business of news purveying.

Take for example, the Associated Press (AP). This international news agency has been throwing big tantrums for several months now if you follow the noise coming from its direction regarding copyright of their news material.

And recently, the AP had asked its employees to not only control what they say, like in Facebook, but what their social media friends say, too. Obviously, this got the goat of the News Media Guild's administrator, Kevin Keane, and he responded to this AP's Facebook profile policy:
      “It is making some people cringe. It is not appropriate for a company that heralds free speech.”

The AP's bizarre action begs the question: When does a social media policy go too far?  Mashable, the social media guide site, in its article, thinks the AP seems to have crossed the line with this policy imposed on its staff.

      The Mashable article opines:
     "And while both policies in question were made with the intention of protecting the AP brand, we're pretty sure that telling employees that they have to control the content of others is going too far. What others post on your social profiles should not be grounds for punishment. You can control what you post, but not what others post. Asking for that is just too much."

The other axe to grind, depending on which side of the fence you're sitting, is the intention of AP to charge anyone who uses anything that it publishes a minimum of $12.50. More of this here at the Marketing Pilgrim site.

How are newspapers faring?

As more and more people move online to get their news, the newspaper industry still seems unsure how to face the spectre of declining readership and revenue. A number of U.S. newspapers have gone bankrupt and it will not be a surprise to see more heading south.

The people in the industry are talking. They are wondering whether their online platforms should charge for content in order to generate revenue? Should there be paid online subscriptions? And a host of other ideas that have yet to jell.

We can guess a mutual feeling is being felt by syndicated news agencies like Associated Press, because it means less revenue as one loses more newspaper clients for its news services. The other big boys such as Reuters and AFP have yet to show similar tendency as AP to rant about copyright issues and fees.

The challenges faced by traditional media are for real and it's expedient for them to seek ways to ensure their survival as dissemination and consumption of information take on a new dimension in a wired world.

The explosion of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter  and, in the case of Twitter, its 140-character messaging alerts in real time have also won over news consumers tuning into current happenings around the world.

Where all this is headed is hard to say, but for newspapers and journalists, it's time they wake up from their slumber and tackle the changes that are taking place right under their noses. Or else, they will ride into the sunset. - Markk