Flock Developer Preview 0.5 Pre-Release Review

First off I’m sorry about the title, but I think I got it all in there. Flock developer preview 0.5 pre-relea… yup it’s all there.

I have been using Flock as my primary web browser for a mere 48 hours and I have a hard time fathoming that anything that’s pre-beta can be this good. Some people argue that Flock is a rip-off of Firefox, and while the two browsers look a bit similar and also feels that way, a little competition never hurt, right?

Let me start with the things it does right. I might have already mentioned some of these things, but now that I have had more time to test I’ll just do it again:-)

  • Integrated blogging: I should mention this first since it’s probably the main attraction for anyone questioning whether to make the switch from Firefox/IE or not. So far it seems pretty cool. I use WordPress so I was confused to see that I only had an option to choose Blogger, MetaWeblog, Moveable Type and Atom API, so I think I went with not choosing anything, but luckily it figured it out itself. Just put in the username and password you normally use to login to your blog and you’re ready to take off with Flock.

    /wp-content/blog_settings.JPG

    • Blog Editor: Of course there’s an implemented WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor that makes posting fun! Not to say I haven’t had my fair share of problems with it, but actually, it’s nowhere near what I would expect when Flock is still in the early stages.

      /wp-content/wysiwyg.JPG

  • Star and Tag + Sweet del.icio.us Integration: del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site in case you didn’t know. There’s a star at the top of the browser which you can press and then star and tag it, meaning it will be added to your favorites. After you have done that it will light up as seen in the picture below when you visit that site. Then the bookmark will be automatically uploaded to your del.icio.us account, if you have one that is, and it’ll do that with tags and everything.

    /wp-content/del.icio.us.JPG

    /wp-content/star_and_tag.JPG

  • Defaults: Flock isn’t being called a social web browser for no reason. Its default search engines reflects this as well, with Technorati already built-in. I know this could also be achieved in Firefox with its 4000+ search engines available as plugins, but just the fact that it has already been taken care of, just goes to show what kind of browser we’re dealing with here.

    /wp-content/search_engines.JPG

  • Technorati Integration: Another social webservice. For those who don’t know Technorati lets you tag your posts, thus making your blog more exposed for people to find.

    /wp-content/technorati.JPG

  • Flickr Integration: Just search for your username on Flickr and you’re instantly allowed to scroll through your pictures, or anyone’s for that matter! In my feedback to the team I requested a Shutterbook integration as well, as they are currently kicking Flickr’s ass. Head over there to grab a free beta account for a lifetime! 20.000 photos compared to Flickr’s 20MB/mo, and we’re only talking bandwith here, not storage.

    I also requested some sort of built-in upload function so I don’t have to switch between the blog editor and the uploading function found in WordPress. Such a feature would be cool, so you would only have to drag and drop your images and then they would automatically be uploaded.. it would be so easy to blog anything! I may be old-fashioned, but I don’t like to steal from others by hotlinking.

    /wp-content/flickr.JPG

Now that were some of the good things about it. But Flock is still rough around the edges in some areas.

  • Lack of Extensions/Themes: Well, of course. But I’m still surprised to see that they still got some with Adblock Plus being the most important in my opinion. Wait a minute… “Plus”? Is this a new version or something? Hmm haven’t really spend much time with extensions yet but I should get there. I’m glad they already have CustomizeGoogle since I’m an avid fan of that extension in firefox.

    Here’s all the extensions so far: http://extend.flock.com/

    And no, this image is not a mistake. It may look VERY similar to Firefox but it’s still different! You know there’s… there’s… uhm there’s that blue Flock logo in the upper left corner!;-)

    The image “/wp-content/extensions.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

  • Small Bugs/Annoyances:
    • Ok, I’m a huge, HUGE fan of Gmail. So as a big fan, I thought that I would write an e-mail to someone yesterday. But absolutely nothing happens when I press “compose e-mail”. It just says “loading” and will do until the end of time, if I don’t abort. I have reported this to Flock just in case it’s not just me. But damn, that thing alone could make me stay with Firefox a bit longer.

      /wp-content/gmail_01.jpg

    • Something I’m pretty annoyed with is the fact that I can’t choose which categories any given post should be categorized in. It’ll just be put under “Uncategorized”, which is another thing that forces me to enter my blog through the website instead of just using the blog editor entirely. I hear this is a WordPress only problem, but I’m not sure.

So all in all, I’m extremely pleased with Flock, especially taking into consideration that it’s such an early version. And it has barely crashed on me! Well once, but I went to the same website in Firefox after I rebooted and the same thing happened there, so that’s just my computer acting up on me. There’s a few bugs here and there, and I bet I’ll encounter many more in the future. But so far, good job Team Flock! On an ending note, Flock vers. 0.4.9 has just been released so go
get it and remember to leave some feedback for the hardworking crew.

/wp-content/0.4.9.JPG


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Ivy Pickett:

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