Services & Software

Flock going 1.0, adding RSS reader and lots of tabs

Flock is launching a private beta of its version 1.0 social browser in two weeks. What's new?

Flock is launching version 1.0 of its social browser next month. The biggest change is a new RSS reader and start page that essentially builds in its own NetVibes and Google Reader. Also new is a sidebar that hangs out on the right side of the browser and has tabs for Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube. If you've read up on our coverage of Mozilla's Coop project, Flock has basically beaten them to the punch, with a sidebar of your friends that lets you both keep track of what they're up to, as well as being able to drag bits of content onto their icons to share.

The service isn't just about sharing on those three sites though. If you find something you like on a site that hasn't been integrated, you can drag over any link to one of your contacts to share it with them, or post it on your blog or social networking profile. Flock has also built in some advanced contextual menus to let you pick exactly where you want to share the content. The idea is to help you share things in services you're already using. Flock is just the mechanism.

Flock has also added a new "media minibar" which pulls together pictures and video clips from your friends and contacts on Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Piczo, Photobucket, and Truveo. It's basically an extension of the RSS reader, and can also let you pull in media from whatever page you're on to share with others. Like everything else in version 1.0, any media on the minibar can be dragged onto your buddy list.

I think the biggest draw to version 1.0 of Flock will be its new sharing features, and tight integration with YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr. The integrated RSS reader also makes it part of an attractive package. Will most people be willing to ditch their current RSS readers and browser for Flock's solution? My guess is no, but it doesn't mean Flock can't vie for a spot beside your No. 1 browser, and go for people my age (18-24), who use these services extensively. The service made its 1.0 announcement at this morning's TechCrunch 40 conference. If you'd like to sign up for the private beta, Flock has a sign-up form here.