From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

Flowing with Flock?

Net browsing used to be mostly about just surfing site after site for information. But in the last few years, people have also used the Internet to be networked to each other as well as to produce and share things within [w:networks]. Flock, the latest open source [w:Web 2.0] browser that has just been launched (still in developer preview version, though), seeks to address this new social phenomenon.

At first glance, Flock looks just like Safari and/or Firefox. It looks like Safari, but renders like Firefox since it is based on Mozilla's Gecko machine.  Yes, Flock is still in early preview mode (which means it still crashes now and then and has some nasty bugs), but it has given me a good feeling of what to expect.  With integrated blogging, Flickr support, and bookmark synching, it gives me hopes that someday it'll spoil me with a 'true' social web browsing experience.

Style and look

For me, Flock looks like a modified and beautified Firefox with more features. The simply-blue nav-bar offers some new buttons; one with a writing quill icon and another with three stars on it. There's also a big star button next to URL bar.

Picture 1

I like the general look of Flock. It feels simpler and lighter than Firefox. The obvious good thing from Flock's look is that it provides a self close-button for each tab browser, unlike Firefox that only has one close-button for all tabs. I also like its navbar style: blue, silver, 3d, and monochrome buttons.


By clicking the quill button, the blog editor will be opened. Using this editor, you can cut out some steps in blogging to your site. I managed to successfully integrate my Blogger, Drupal NetPublics, and Wordpress (you can also get account by using Flock) based blogs.

After published this post (using Flock's blog editor) to NetPublics I found out that there's a format conflict between the blog editor and Drupal, but the problem is somewhat resolved by changing the input format from filtered [w:html] to full [w:html]. Yet then I had to change the code for [w:interwiki]. My post to my Wordpress blog here went much smoother, though.

Picture 6

The blog editor has a blog topbar that can call your blog posts and a cool flickr topbar that enables you to insert pictures from any flickr account. I hope to see a feature to actually upload to Flickr in the future too.

Picture 4

The editor also enables you to 'tag' your post and link it to technorati. Once you activate categories you can also categorize your posting.

-One not so great thing is that while you can save your post as draft, it's only an offline draft and is not saved online.- +The editor also allows you to save your draft online+.

Bookmark and

With Flock, you can bookmark any page just by 'star'-ing a page. As you do so, you automatically send the link to your which enables you to access your bookmarked sites from any computer.


Flock has a Yahoo as  search default (meanwhile Google is the default for Firefox) and searches from the search box open in new tabs. Additionally there's also a search history box. By typing words in this box, you can find bookmarks and recently visited pages (from history) containing that word in the address or title.

With a Shelf widget, you can drop text, links and images to reuse these later in the blog posting tool or any other application.

Flock shows feeds in the URL bar, like Safari. Clicking on the feed button in the URL bar opens an rss viewer (also like Safari), but this viewer supports multiple feeds on a single page.

So, all in all, it's a potentially great browser. I love it. However, I don't think we can use it as a primary browser for now since it's still very unstable. I had it crashed several times and everytime I had to reset my blog accounts again!?!. But once a public beta version is launched (see Flock's public beta roadmap) I think we all should go for it :).

Submitted by mlim on November 8, 2005 - 12:17pm