It seems that every geek worth his or her salt is giving Flock a spin. In case you’re not a geek, or have been buried up to your neck in Ruby code, or (God forbid!) offline for a few days, Flock is a pre-release Firefox-based browser that ties into “social” web-based tools like Flickr, del.icio.us, newsfeeds and various blogging platforms. In fact, it does a great job of tying all these things together. For example, you can tag something as a favourite site, and it appears in your online del.icio.us list, which can appear in your blogroll. Meantime, a click on the built-in blog editor and a special toolbar means you can select one of those Flickr images your posted recently and write a blog post about it, publishing it automatically. It auto-discovers most feeds, lets you read them (or even combine various feeds together) in a nice ad-free environment, and –of course– blog about them. Throw in a nice little tie-in to the new blogging service WordPress.com (a free account!), and you have yourself a handy little tool for wrapping yourself in the interactive glory that is Web 2.0. (For a nice little guide of its features, see a short tour at stream of thoughts.)
So, do I like it?
I’m really not sure. (How’s that for a definitive answer?) I’ve never been a big Flickr user (my stream now has a grand total of two images, one for testing ages ago, and another for this post), and lately I find that I use del.icio.us less and less –I tag sites, but hardly ever return to use those bookmarks. The blog editor is decent; I’m actually using it for this post. The feeds are well done, but I’m not sure it’s going to replace bloglines for me any time soon. And the bookmarking system is, for me, rather clumsy, albeit great if you’re using several different computers and don’t mind sharing all your marks with the rest of the world, seeing you sync these online with del.icio.us. (Although, to be fair, you can choose not to share your bookmarks, but you’ll be losing one of the most important –or at least hyped– abilities of the browser.) At least my favourite Firefox extensions work well, including Web Developer Toolbar, GMail Notifier, AdBlock and GreaseMonkey.
I’m giving this a spin for a week. Who knows? Maybe it will encourage me to become more “social”?