by Megan Cloherty

The browser with the blue orb is set to change how we surf. I read about RockMelt’s upcoming launch a few months ago and filed it away under ‘things to check up on.’ This week, I pulled that file and downloaded what Mashable calls the ‘social savvy’ browser.

The concept behind RockMelt–to give the user a profile within their browser. You need to sign on to Facebook to even open RockMelt.  The two are directly linked so your friends’ profile pictures decorate the left side of the browser, just like your bookmarks line the top of your window. By scrolling over their pictures, you can see the latest posts to their wall or start a chat.

In your personalized RockMelt browser, users can easily chat with starred friends and toggle between them and their entire friend list to see who is online. The friend feature makes it easy to stay on top of Facebook- a site many people already call their homepage-while navigating elsewhere.

On the right hand side of RockMelt’s unique browser design, users have the ability to share whatever page they are visiting. You can share a gossip column on Twitter, or recommend a New York Times article. Based on the sites they visit most, RockMelt recommends the websites that offer live feeds (a la Twitter) that can live on the right-hand of the browser.

The genius behind all this personalization is the power of sharing. Jan Schaffer of American University’s J-Lab says she is not surprised to see the latest report that Facebook earns 25% of page views in the U.S. You are far more likely to read an article recommended by a friend than at random, according to Schaffer. By making sharing easier, RockMelt is tapping into that trend.

You’ll have to get an invitation to download RockMelt, which seemed unnecessarily exclusive to me. See for yourself! I mean, It’s a browser, not a nightclub. Regardless, it’s smart and that is usually a business model that sticks.

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