“Opera remains a closed-source and niche approach to browsing that lacks the open-source appeal of Firefox or the corporate backing of Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer," Rosenblatt said. "Yet because of its longevity (in use since 1995), along with its competitive feature set, page-load speeds, synchronization, and mobile options, it's also a viable alternative to other browsers.”
Sadly, Flock was recently discontinued. Designed with the Facebook generation in mind, Flock was built on the idea that users shouldn’t have to return to their favorite social sites again and again, when they could be using their browser for actual browsing.
To achieve this, Flock introduced a sidebar that kept track of RSS and Atom feeds as well as favorite social networking services. As users would browse Wikipedia or search for the latest in current events, the Flock sidebar would automatically display any new photos or status updates in real time.
Flock still has its users, and with a little time you can find its final release if you’d like to give it a go. However, Flock will probably go down in history as the first casualty to the RockMelt revolution.
RockMelt was Flock’s arch nemesis. Where Flock pioneered the idea of having a browser specifically tailored to social networkers, RockMelt landed as the hipper, trend-savvy cousin that social-networkers gravitated towards.
What sets RockMelt apart from every other browser out there, is the way social networking happens around the browser frame. It took Flock’s sidebar idea and wrapped the entire browser with quick access to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and most other social networking outlets. In most cases, you’ll be able to post status updates, upload pictures,and see what your friends are doing without ever leaving DeseretNews.com.
So how did RockMelt eventually win the browser war with Flock?
Well, in Mark Spoonauer’s recent interview with RockMelt’s founder and CTO Tim Howes for laptopmag.com, Howes said, “There was Friendster and there was Facebook. It all comes down to timing and execution.”
Easily the most platform-friendly browser on this list, the lightweight and still fairly new Arora is an important browser to consider because of its accessibility.
If users are running an older computer, with slower hardware, or if their hobby is hacking software or playing around with flavors of Linux or FreeBSD, then definitely give Arora a look.
If users love it, great news: They can use it on pretty much any operating system they end up using. If they don’t? Well, the price of free isn’t going to set them back for too long.
Where Arora was pretty much a universal application to be enjoyed by all, Shiira sadly, is for Mac users only.
Built on the same WebKit rendering engine as Safari, the Japanese browser enjoys many of the same features as Apple’s native browser. However, Shiira hopes to go places the Apple-backed Safari can’t by opening its code up to the world.
From its website: “The goal of the Shiira Project is to create a browser that is better and more useful than Safari. All source code used in this software is publicly available.”
Incorporating some interesting design options like the Tab Expose and graphical sidebar trays, Shiira is only a few bugs away from becoming a serious contender on the OSX platform.
Who knows, maybe Shiira will be the next open-source-vs.-corporation conversation around the Linux lunch table.
Since we did an Apple-only browser, here’s one just for Windows users.
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