Saturday, April 23, 2011

Linux Magazine: Why Did Flock Fail?

This post probably won’t mean anything to any readers I may happen to have. It’s a geek post, but I’ll make it as simple as I can.

Years ago, I used to get email from Linux Magazine. Those emails stopped at some point in the past (2008 according to a glance through my gmail archives). I didn’t notice. This week, I got a new email from Linux Magazine. Weird. So I checked it out. I found an article that was another blast from the past, asking why Flock Failed.

What is Flock?, you may ask. Flock was supposed to be “the social web browser”. I tried it very early in it’s development, then dropped it and forgot about it. It was an interesting concept, but was missing the most important part for me in using a web browser: a session restore feature.

What is a Session Restore feature? You probably know what tabs are. You have one browser window open and all the web pages you’re reading are open in tabs. I tend to come up with a lot of reading I’d like to do, but don’t want to do right now, so I’ll come across a new site or article and leave it open in a tab until I feel like dealing with it. Sometimes that can take months. In the meantime, Windows downloads updates, Adobe Craprobat needs to update, and your computer has to restart. Or your computer crashes. When you reopen your web browser, it looks exactly the way it did when you shut it down. All of your tabs are back. I love it. It works great for me. I won’t use a web browser without this feature. That includes Internet Explorer and Safari (for Windows). I have no idea why Safari doesn’t have a session manager on Windows. It does on the Mac.

I used to keep a lot of tabs open; sometimes more than 50. Now, thanks to services like Read It Later and Delicious, I can keep my tab count under 20.

Flock was a great idea. It was supposed to pull together your web browsing and social media. I guess the implementation was bad though. I never got past the early versions of the browser because it lacked a session manager.

Post a Comment