Flock fails to flabbergast!

I struggled for alliteration with that title, didn’t I?

Flock is a new browser which was launched overnight – it is still in beta (isn’t everything these days? 1.0 versions are so 90’s!), and it is billed as a browser for Web 2.0! Michael Arrington from TechCrunch broke the story of the launch.

I have been playing around with it this morning and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it is a very slick interface on OS X – I haven’t tried it on a PC yet (see screenshot below), it has some nice functionality, and it appears to be fast and stable for a beta browser.

New Flock Browser screenshot on OS X

Like Firefox, Flock has the ability to add Extensions and when you browse to the available extensions for Flock, my three favourite Firefox extensions are available for Flock too (Adblock, Web Developer and Greasemonkey) – yeah!

Where Flock is supposed to differentiate from existing browsers is in support for Web 2.0-type apps. It does this by connecting to del.icio.us, Flickr and your blog software of (limited) choice (it has a built-in blog editor).

However, Flock was written on top of the Firefox codebase, so it should be stable and fast and it should support Firefox extensions – so no great shakes there. The blog editor is poor enough, it doesn’t support WordPress Categories, for instance, it doesn’t have a Quick Link for blockquoting and most importantly, it doesn’t seem to allow you to view/edit previous posts or drafts.

I found a very minor bug when adding my blog to the blog editor – notice in the dialog box below:

Flock Blog add bug

The explanatory text says “Click Finish to save your settings” whereas the button you need to click is labelled “Done”

The del.icio.us integration is nice – click the star button beside the uri and the address is automatically added to your del.icio.us account. You can turn on the ability to tag your del.icio.us bookmarks – this should be on by default in my opinion.

The Flickr integration I can’t really comment on as I don’t use Flickr much at all.

All in all, Flock is a nice browser but it underwhelms and I can’t see myself moving from Firefox to Flock just yet.

9 thoughts on “Flock fails to flabbergast!”

  1. Could you get the “drag stuff to blog” bit working? Nothing happened for me. It really should be integrated more so that you can post to other blogs using its shiny interface. I don’t see there being a large uptake of this app though – it offers very little above firefox, and integrates with only a few clique sites and blogging software – flickr, delicious, wordpress and MT – and poorly with those. Another big brouhaha over nothing IMO.

  2. Hostyle,

    I was able to get the “drag stuff to blog” working – I dragged it to the blog post area and it went in, no problem. I had a bit of trouble with it though ‘cos it looked to me like you were supposed to drag it to the button which says “drag stuff to blog”

    The Delicious integration is nice, the rest is fairly yawn.

    What I do like about it, is that so far, it seems faster and more stable than Firefox – I’ll need to use it more to confirm that.

  3. Thanks for your feedback, Tom. Just a quick clarification: we don’t support categories because we use tags. The reason for that is because you can not create categories via the existing blogging APIs. Therefore if you only ever use Flock to blog, you would never have any categories setup, which would make supporting them useless.

    What we are going to do, however, in a future release, is download your categories and add them to your tags’ autocompletion library. When you add a tag that matches an existing category, we will check off that category when you post your blog entry. So while it’s not ideal per se, it’s the only option we have unless the blogging tools change. We went through a lot of issues on this one and ended up deciding that tags are a superior way to deal with favorites and blog posts since you can also unify them across the whole browser whereas categories tend to be more specific to only blog posts.

  4. Hi Chris – thanks for taking the time to explain some of Flock’s thinking on the Categories issue. The idea of converting existing categories to tags and converting them on publication is a nice one.

    One other suggestion I would give you is to suggest tags. My tag plugin on this blog is called Ultimate Tag Warrior and it reads my post and through some Yahoo! web services magic it comes back with a list of suggested tags, when asked. Something like this would make the blog editor very useful.

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