Part of my job requires that I install just about every browser available. Something they all have in common is that every… single… one of them continually asks if I would like for it to be my default browser. They try to make it so enticing, “Don’t you want me to be your default browser instead of that scamp over there? I’ll be good to you!” It never works.

After all, being my default browser isn’t an easy job. I demand things from my browser that most web surfers never even conceive of. When I click a link, I have to trust my default browser to jump into the task quickly, accurately and with impeccable stability. And I’m not talking about sometimes, I’m talking about ALL the time, every time.

For quite a while, Chrome has excelled at the task of being my default browser. I still use other browsers from time to time, but they just don’t seem to stack up to my needs like Chrome does.

Along came RockMelt.

For me, RockMelt evoked a stroke of genius by basing their browser on the Chromium platform (the same one that Chrome uses). I don’t know whether this was a matter of necessity, function or preference but it’s what ended up making my decision for me. It’s like Chrome++. If you’re like me and you like pinned tabs, Chrome Apps and dozens of other awesome Chrome features you don’t have to lose any of them to change browsers and get some cool new social functionality.

So what exactly is RockMelt? From their web site:

RockMelt is re-imagining your online experience by creating a new web browser that makes it easy to stay in touch with friends, search online, and get updates from your favorite websites.

What that means to you is that it’s a fast, stable browser that integrates directly with Facebook and Twitter.

The best way to see what I’m talking about is to watch the RockMelt promo video, I’ll catch you afterwards:

After a week of using RockMelt as my default browser, here’s some things I’m really digging:

  • The sidebars allow me to have my social media items available, but not in the way
  • The ability to add ANY RSS feed to the sidebar
  • The ability to quickly and easily share whatever web page I’m looking at with my Twitter and Facebook networks
  • The sidebars are easily hidden with simple keyboard shortcuts (CTRL+SHIFT+[ and CTRL+SHIFT+])
  • It’s Chrome (which I love) just better

And some things I’m not so jazzed about:

  • No apparent support for Twitter DM (really?)
  • Twitter mentions are not noted on the icon, you have to open the feed, click the sidebar icon and then load mentions separately… Changing the color of the message notification if you had mentions would be a nice touch
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to share something with all networks at once

Want in on it? You either need to be invited or you need to get in on their beta program, which you can do over on their web site (by connecting with them on Facebook).