I have been trying (key emphasis on trying) to figure out the value of the Flock “social” web browser over the past week or so. There are some cool features I guess, but I’m not all that sure that any of this has any real enterprise value…yet.
The people at Flock have a neat idea – in theory. By bringing together all of a persons social networks, media and browsing activity in one place, Flock (and not Facebook, Youtube, etc.) can become the standard social media platform. Think about it – the amount of data gathered and compiled for segmentation and market intelligence on this kind of platform – staggering, really. But, can Flock pull it off?
For one thing, it is not super easy to use. Google is Google because its model is painfully simple and of course works. On the contrary, I’m still trying to figure out all the nooks and crannies inside this new browser.
To be fair, it is tough to redefine something that has been so entrenched in its current form. (Heck, I even remember when I was first using Firefox…”tabbed what?”) And for business users, there is no learning curve that i acceptable for something like a browser. It has taken someone like me – partially educated and mildly non-troglodyte – more than a week to even feel comfortable with the browser and the whole concept in general.
I think this may catch on, but Flock may be pushing too much, too fast. (But if it doesn’t, what’s to differentiate Flock from Firefox or IE?)
I am not sure, ultimately, what the balance can or should be. For example, SugarCRM takes a very careful look at the UI and total user experience when adding and designing features – and simplicity rules. I think there’s value in what Flock is promoting, but some design and presentation tweaks will probably be in order before this is ready for prime time.
Imagine trying to navigate an enterprise web-based application with this as your core browser experience?