Does the RockMelt Integrated Facebook Browser Jeopardize Your Online Security?
By littletechgirl on November 18, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
For the past few days I have been trying out the new RockMelt Browser. Released one week ago, it is drawing attention for being an integrated social media browser. Right now, RockMelt is in beta and is currently available by invite only. But the neat thing is that if you sign up for an invite, Facebook friends that are already using the browser get a notification that you are in need of an invite and can send you one.
RockMelt is based on Chromium, the open source browser architecture from Google that runs Google Chrome. This means that the interface is pretty slick, fast, and clean. And it also works with Chrome Add-ons.
RockMelt is not just another browser thrown into the mix. The unique thing about this browser is that you have to log in using your Facebook account to even download it. Facebook is integrated right into the browser. You can keep tabs on your friends by clicking over to the "edge" to read recent status updates, leave comments, or LIKE content. You can also integrate your Twitter account. This gives you a quick view of recent tweets, @replies, and tweets organized by list. However it does not allow you to see Direct Messages.
A nifty feature is the ability to "tear away" the windows on the edge to make them float on their own away from the browser. This is pretty neat and allows you to view several windows at one time without running extra programs. It's very nice having Facebook and Twitter at my fingertips. You get a notification icon if you get a new message, or response without having to go and search for it. You can also opt to add the RSS feed of frequently visited sites to your edge so that you have them easily available.
But does all this integration bring up some security concerns? Are there drawbacks to having your Facebook and Twitter accounts integrated into your web browser? The only one that I have found is that it also keeps you logged into Facebook chat. LOL! Unless you tell it not to. This is easily fixed by clicking a button.
Seriously though, on the RockMelt site, they make it known that privacy is a top concern. They do lay out that data is indeed collected from the browser in order to make the product better. This data may include personal information that can possibly be connected to you. However, they promise that they are doing this, and they make it very difficult for third parties to do so.
Honestly? I don't think that using RockMelt is any more of a security risk then using any other browser or your IM program.
What's nice is that they offer tips on their site for opting out of the date collection temporarily or for good. One such tip is to run the browser in Incognito Mode which does not keep a record of sites that you visit or collect data usage. You can also opt out by changing the setting under "Help make RockMelt Better" in the Preferences of the browser.
Want to see how RockMelt works? Give this video from one of the designers, Toby. He makes it seem easy. And fun!
Right now, I am loving RockMelt. It seems like a very sold browser with great features. It will be interesting to see what they add in upcoming releases.
Kris Cain is Chicago area mom to 2 sets of twins, photography nut, gadget addict, web designer, and blogger who has worked in IT for over 13 years. On her blog, LittleTechGirl.com she writes about her love of gadgets, technology, and her children.
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