Rockmelt: The Initial Experience … Fail

Was invited to Rockmelt yesterday and had to try it out. First though, I had to get through the slightly confusing invite experience. If I were not on the phone with my friend WHILE he was inviting me we may not have figured out how it worked. Here’s the process that we discerned: you send an invite to a friend, that friend has to click on www.rockmelt.com, connect via Facebook Connect to sign up for the beta. The original inviter then has to go back into Rockmelt and click “hook’em up” once the friend’s name shows up. Um, he already invited me over Facebook and the invite couldn’t be transferred, so why the extra step? It is counter intuitive.

Rockmelt crashed the first time I launched the browser, which is always a bad way to start with a new program. I opened up the two webmail systems that I use and another tab in the same window for browsing. I sign in to Twitter three times and get the ever spinning circle. The Facebook integration is better, it is fairly robust, meaning I saw status messages.

My major complaint is performance since when I was running those 3 tabs, the browser froze and took my MacBook with it. I had to quit Rockmelt and restart the computer before I could type in to other services, like Seesmic Desktop or Safari. The second complaint I have is I was looking for people to invite and clicked on a few names on the side. I couldn’t tell who was already in the system and didn’t want to send duplicates to people who likely already had an invite from other friends. Wouldn’t you know, even without hitting the button that sends a message, just because I clicked on a Facebook friend’s name from the invite box meant that I ACTUALLY INVITED THEM. It also meant that I couldn’t remember who I invited because I THOUGHT I was just testing out the invite functionality so the system would prompt me for confirmation. I had to search through the list and look for the “Follow up” button to see who the lucky three were and then actually send messages. One person that I inadvertently invited would never even bother downloading this and I knew that. I had clicked on their name to see what the invite behavior of Rockmelt was for someone who I knew would not have been in the first wave of invites vs people I suspected were already in the system.

Bottom line,my assessment is it’s too early to see what the best practices are for making browsing social and it’s unclear if Rockmelt has it right. From the way they are handling invites, I think there’s a long way to go before the experience becomes one that I’d want to use every day. They do have a great icon though, I have to admit.

More to come later, once I restart my computer again after shutting down Rockmelt, which slowed everything to a crawl again.

About Chia Hwu

Social marketer, blogger, and foodie interested in the intersection of technology with healthcare, society. Expertise include biotech, mobile, health, and food. www.twitter.com/chiah