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Or maybe not. We don't really know what this new browser is, beyond a New York Times report that it may feature hooks into Facebook and other social media. Andreesen also isn't suiting up as a developer for this venture. He's the bagman this time -- his venture capital fund has committed capital to privately held RockMelt.
"We have backed a really good team," Andreesen told the Times in an early summer interview. Here, the "team" includes co-founders Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, both of whom worked with Andreesen at Opsware before Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) acquired it in 2007. This time, they're out to transform what it means to make a browser -- or so it would seem.
Skeptics have a right to question Andreesen's sanity. A new browser? Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Chrome has done little to take share away from Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) IE. Firefox is an established browser, but it only accounts for roughly one-quarter of the market. What's so special about RockMelt? If only we had the answer.
Still, it would be premature to dismiss Andreesen's latest venture as nonsensical. Browsers, on the whole, remain pretty dumb. Firefox battles back with plug-ins. Chrome promises multiprocessing for a more stable surfing experience. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) Safari sells itself with speed. Norway's Opera promises a smarter peer-to-peer Web.
What none of them offer however, is aggregation -- a better way to view the Web and all the ways we connect to other people using it. Google Wave is as close as we've seen in this area.
Thanks to Andreesen and RockMelt, that example may be just the beginning.
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