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Flock founder hopes new browser will fly with users

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Startup Flock Inc. has released a Firefox-based browser meant to enhance the user experience by incorporating some of the Web's most social features, such as file sharing, RSS (really simple syndication) feeds and Web logging, according to the company's co-founder.

Bart Decrem, who in the past helped develop the business model for the Mozilla Foundation (Profile, Products, Articles) and its Firefox browser, is chief executive officer (CEO) and a founder of Flock, which is based in Palo Alto, California, and plans to deliver what Decrem calls a "social browser" that will let users take advantage of the full next-generation Web experience.

"The Web has evolved very dramatically from a big library to a library, shopping mall and increasingly a social space where people exchange information, communicate with each other and share information," Decrem said Friday from Camden, Maine, where he was attending the Pop!Tech 2005 conference.

The evolution of Web browsers, however, have not been as significant, he said. Though Firefox is different because it puts the user experience first and offers more security in comparison to Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer, current browsers are still very similar to 10 years ago, Decrem said. IE faced little challenge in the browser market until recently and so did not evolve much in the way of feature innovation.

Flock hopes to change that by integrating more functionality into the browser, giving users easier access to the Web's social aspects. The developer preview of Flock Browser available Friday showcases the inclusion of the "low-hanging fruit" of that experience, according to Decrem.

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