A short while ago I blogged about the increase in walled gardens online (much to Google’s dismay) with Facebook leading the way. The premise is that Facebook is becoming its own environment (much like the iPhone/app market) and that Google doesn’t have all access to the content created within Facebook. (Facebook also offers text based advertising much the same way that Google does.) Fortunately for Google (and Bing) Twitter is transparent meaning Google’s spiders can crawl the content that is created by users and return specific results.
Based on the changing definition of the Internet and Facebook becoming a it’s own environment; it makes sense that a browser, specific to Facebook would be needed. Enter RockMelt.
Marc Andreesen and Robert John Churchill of Netscape fame have been associated with the RockMelt project and the application is rumored to be loosely coupled with the desktop. This sounds somewhat similar to what Google Chrome is becoming as the concept of the desktop loses its meaning.
When the Internet started, it was based on serving up documents. With the eminent death of the home page, data points are where things are headed; including methods for those data points to be related. What would a search result on RockMelt look like? Let’s say someone searches on Ankor Wat. The results would essentially show every thing outside of Facebook and infomration specific to Facbook. It show videos, photos, sites, Wikipedia resutls, travel packages and in the case of RockMelt any discussions about Ankor Wat (in Facebook or on Twitter); offering you the option to connect with a “peer resource”. That is one of the things that differentiates social media. It’s conversational, there is inherently more trust involved because it is a peer and not a business and with lifestreaming (with Twitter) it is real time. (I’m happy to say that the other person involved with the project is Joe Hewitt, who is responsible for Facebook’s iPhone application. So look for RockMelt to have a strong mobile presence.)
Aside from search, I believe RockMelt will look like a dashboard; showing all of the lifestreams you follow, all RSS feeds, communication methods (IM, social messaging), news alerts — all pushed to you in the interface. A personal dashboard. All of this exists right now, just not in one Facebook branded application. There is also a tremendous opportunity for good advertising. Good = contextual, behavioral, conversational, situational (mobile) and a partnership with users (if they chose) to get advertising to where it needs to be.
I look forward to seeing what RockMelt is/does. I’ll keep you posted.