Flock: Latest version is pretty sweet

I have to give the team at Flock a lot of credit. The browser — which is built on Mozilla code, but has all kinds of added social features — has been through hell and back over the past couple of years. First, the initial release was weak, and got dumped on by just about everyone. Then Performancing released an excellent blogging plugin for Firefox (now called ScribeFire), and my friend Paul Kedrosky said Flock was, well… fucked.

Since integration with blogs was one of the big features that Flock brought to the table, there seemed to be a good chance that Paul was right. But Flock kept on plugging away. Not long after that, Firefox announced that it was going to add social features through something called The Coop, and I wondered whether Paul was even more right than before. But The Coop didn’t really fly (sorry) and Flock kept on adding features and plugging away. Now, the company has come out with version 1.0 of the browser, and I have to say that it is pretty interesting. It’s not perfect, of course, but it has a bunch of cool features.

Not everyone is going to want a browser with all sorts of add-ons, including a media bar — which displays Flickr photos and other stuff — and a “People” sidebar with links to your Facebook and Flickr and YouTube friends and their content. Some may find all the different tools and windows confusing. But for the social-media junkie (yes I’m looking at you, Fred) it brings together a number of different social threads in an interesting way.

You can see Facebook updates and photos with a click, scroll through Flickr photos, drag and drop your own photos on a friend in your People sidebar to share them, post something to a blog and even use your sidebar as a notebook for future blog posts, dragging and dropping images and text to it. Mike Arrington is right that Flock should be able to upload images to a blog server rather than just to Flickr or Facebook, but that shouldn’t be too hard to do. And apart from that, Flock 1.0 is pretty sweet. Karoli likes it too.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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