The browser wars have really been heating up again lately. Thanks to Mozila’s Firefox, Internet Explorer is no longer the undisputed king, and browsers are popping up all over the place trying grab a piece of the pie. A new browser project called RockMelt is in development – and it’s backed by Mosaic developer and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen.
Marc Andreessen developed Mosaic together with Eric Bina in 1992 and 1993. Mosaic was the first browser to really bring the internet to the masses, thanks to its easy installation and usable interface; an interface which has remained more or less unchanged ever since. Mosaic was also the first browser to render images inline. Contrary to popular belief, however, Mosaic wasn’t the first graphical browser.
Still, Mosaic became popular, and in the end formed the basis for Netscape, whose parent company was founded by Marc Andreessen. As we all know, Netscape played a major role in popularising the web, a role it had to relinquish to Internet Explorer. Netscape still lives on though through Firefox, the browser which reignited the browser wars thanks to being a better product than Internet Explorer 6.
So, Marc Andreessen knows his browsers. He was a key player in the history of two of the most important browsers, so when he decides to put his weight behind a new browser project, you can be sure people will notice. RockMelt, as the project is called, is currently nothing more than a web page, and Andreessen is very reluctant to say anything about it. What we do know is that several people from one of his former companies – Opsware – are involved, and that at least one of them worked at Netscape too, back in the day.
Just yet another browser project to keep an eye on.
The biggest hurdle for any new browser, as the cnet article stated, is penetrating the existing browser market. Chrome is only at 2%, Firefox at 23%, with no mention of where Opera/Safari/other alternatives stand…
In order for RockMelt to succeed it has to be as simple and intuitive as the “default” browsers IE and Safari WHILE incorporating things like support for the vast amount of plugins/extentions/themes/other addons Firefox offers WHILE being as fast and lightweight as Opera.
I don’t think a tight integration with facebook is enough, as a tight integration with Google only has gotten Chrome a 2% user base. Perhaps if there were enhanced facebook features ONLY available in Rockmelt WHILE taking advantage of all I mentioned it MAY stand a chance in the era of Browser War II.