flocking at the opera

August 23, 2006

First day with Flock has been terrific – I loaded it on my machine at work as well, so I’ve done all my browsing today on it. Impressions:

  • The Flickr pane at the top is great – I was researching photos and it was a handy way of viewing them without leaving the page I was on. Perhaps in the future they could integrate some sort of related-words browsing a la FlickrStorm.
  • Manage Your Favorites looks really cool – I wasn’t that impressed with the Places bar when I tried it out in the FFx 3.0 builds, and while this is missing the search and sort functionality that places offered, it’s a far more pleasant UI
  • Building on FFx means compatibility is actually better than when I surf with Opera – it’s great to use Backpack, GCal, GMail with chat, etc and not have to worry about whether I should be “Masking as Mozilla”
  • Search as you type results in the search bar are way more useful than I ever thought they’d be. Since most of the time I click on the first 4 links anyway, this cuts out the middle search page entirely.
  • Blogging with the built-in tool couldn’t be easier, but the default font on its interface is hideous. I think this is a problem on my system.

That said, there are a lot of ‘little things’ I’ve grown accustomed to in Opera. Extensions have been filling some needs pretty well:

  • Open page next to current, undo close tab  – I installed superT (found on Flock extensions site) and it did the trick
  • Mouse Gestures – Also found on Flock site. Not quite as smooth as the Opera ones, and I miss the popup menu when I use the mouse scroll + right click to get a list of tabs, but it’s good enough

What I miss, and haven’t found extensions for:

  • The Fast Forward feature – being able to log-in by doing a leftclick-rightclick rocker gesture, or navigate quickly through a folder of images in the same way
  • The image preview of tabs on hover of their names in the title

All in all, Flock looks like a serious contender for at least a permanent place on my hard drive, and might even end up as default.

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