The debut of current startup darling Flock's "social browser" was as eagerly anticipated by me as by many early adopters. Well, it's only version 0.4.8, so everything I say in this post will hopefully be addressed and corrected in future versions...but my bottom-line after a half hour of trying the software is that Flock underwhelms.
It starts with the installation process, where Flock like Firefox before it (and from where some of the founders came), offers to import your bookmarks from Internet Explorer. Which is all very well and good, but like most folks likely to try Flock, I've long since left IE for Firefox and all of my current bookmarks are in Firefox, not IE...so please, if you're going to automatically and conveniently import my bookmarks, do so from Firefox, not just IE.
The browser does have a cool look once installed, with a basic blue default theme.
Being a "social browser", the software offers the ability to easily integrate your favorite blogging service, Flickr account for photos and Delicious for tags.
On the first item, after typing in my blog address when asked, Flock failed "to connect" with the blogging service (Typepad), and asked me to do so manually, but offered no help on how to do so. I tried some other blogs that I maintain, but no luck. Flock wasn't able to connect with any of them automatically. So no points on number one.
The Flickr integration worked fine, with photos from your Flickr account loading up on a toolbar above the browsing window. The feature that is supposed to be most helpful here is the ability to drag and drop photos from the Flickr account to your blogging editor. I haven't had a chance to try that yet given point number one above. Also, I'm not sure I want to give up over an inch of horizontal screen space for Flickr integration.
This is a browser after all, and that's the primary function.
Other nit: left-clicking on a bookmark in the bookmark toolbar doesn't give you the editing options you normally get in Firefox, forcing you to actually open the bookmark manager to edit your links. Also, in this early version, there seems to be no easy way to add folders to the bookmark toolbar.
So overall, I agree with VC Paul Kedrosky's pithy assessment. Out of the box in this early version, there isn't a feature yet that I find useful enough to launch Flock instead of Firefox. But will continue to check future versions as the software evolves. Some other reviews of this version can be found here and here.