I got my RockMelt invite today! In the last couple of days, I only looked at a couple of reviews because I didn’t want to ruin the newbie experience, especially from the point of view of someone who values privacy and is leery of sharing information with everyone. If you haven’t read my last post, I connected to a RockMelt invite using a fake Facebook account that is friends with my real account. Was I better off signing in my real account? Probably.
To use RockMelt, you must log in with a Facebook account or sign up for one. There is no other way. So, for those of you out there who are staunchly anti-Facebook, don’t bother with RockMelt and continue browsing the web as you have before.
The browser won’t start if you click “Cancel”. RockMelt is the Facebook browser. Frankly, if I wanted to be on Facebook 24/7, couldn’t I just check the “Keep me logged in” box on a regular browser? And, if I just wanted to browse the Internet, why do I need a Facebook browser application to do so? Given that I’m already leery of sharing information, I get my most favorite Facebook window:
Seriously, by this point, they’re basically saying that any information you have on Facebook and any information your friends (yes, every single friend and all of their photos and videos that haven’t seen a privacy setting) have on Facebook is open access. This is exactly why I chose my fake Facebook account… Sure RockMelt, go ahead and access my fake birthdate and my non-existent profile photo at any time. And please, I beg of you, send me the spam I expect in the inbox I rarely check. Also, don’t forget to read the posts on my wall from Zynga and Rocketfish because I love to play popular games like Frontierville and Restaurant City – Farmville and Cafe World were so yesterday. By the way, don’t tell my friend (my real account) that I’ve given you permission to access tidbits of her information because I know her photos will give away a GPS location of where she lives even though she doesn’t have her home address in her profile (actually, they don’t but for some people this could be very true).
Allow or Don’t Allow?
This is like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I sure hate to ruin the ending but selecting “Don’t Allow” is like pressing “Cancel” on the last window. The application closes and well, that’s it folks. Seeing as I’ve already made the effort to log in, I’ll go for “Allow”.
Start RockMelt, no turning back. As seen on the RockMelt site, the browser has quickly learned who my friends are and even picked out the profile photo and status of my real account. If I hadn’t encountered the second intimidating window earlier claiming what sort of information it would pull from Facebook, I wouldn’t be so bothered. In fact, if my friends were online a lot more and Facebook were an active instant messaging system, RockMelt would be perfect for asynchronous chatting. This could potentially be great for team projects.
At first glance, the interface is simple. Hovering over one of the boxes in the middle will display what each region of the browser does. There I am, in the above screenshot, already looking to connect with my real account. My fake account has been placed online yet I remember it being offline the last time I logged in. The top right mail icon allows me to send invites to any member of my friends list – how exclusive. I can also get live feeds from Facebook and Twitter. Sigh… do I have to sign up for a fake Twitter account too?
At first glance, RockMelt is looking more and more like it would appeal to those who are ultra-connected with social media. Of course, this definitely is not a bad thing and RockMelt could be the perfect browser for such individuals. But what does it mean for those who value privacy, are not so into the whole Facebook and tweeting or connecting with everyone? For now, I think time will tell if the popularity of RockMelt warrants learning about how this new toy works. The idea behind RockMelt is great but I don’t want a browser that is restricted by a login to Facebook. Perhaps further exploration could change my mind.