Cardinal and the Conversation Topbar

Published on 07 June 2006

In short: the Conversation topbar will not be in Cardinal, grab the extension at the bottom of this page if you need it! When I joined Flock in early 2005, I brought an extension with me: the Technorati topbar, or Conversation topbar, that I developed as a third party developer while I was still preparing my Ph.D. at Tokyo Metropolitan University. The Technorati topbar is a tool to see "who is talking about the page I am reading". It was the first Flock-specific extension. Since it was a good example of the direction where the web is going, I received a lot of press for it, had dinner with a guy from Technorati in Tokyo, and I even heard that Bill Gates used it in demo at an internal Microsoft seminar.

The Technorati topbar was integrated to Flock 0.5 (Buzzard). At that time it made sense to have it in the browser because it was about the social web: know what the bloggers are saying about the page you're reading, and engage the conversation. The topbar was a bit rough on the edges, but the whole Flock browser was still experimental. It was a kind of big lab where we (mostly developers) were putting pieces together to make the web less "read-only", more bi-directional. However, we have made great progress in Cardinal. Flock is no longer a prototype for developers but a product in beta version that you can use daily, as your primary browser. During that time, I have been working hard on exciting modules such as the Web Snippets and the blog module. Consequently, The Technorati/Conversations topbar did not received as much attention as the other modules, and its quality is not as good. This is why we chose to release the Conversation Topbar as an extension. We want Flock to have only features that are stable, polished and useful to most users. In the social browser, it makes sense to have the backlinks, and be able to read conversations about a given page. But the Conversations topbar still has a quite bad user interface, and does allow the user to choose the content provider. Maybe the Conversations topbar will finally go back in Flock's main distribution; but for now, it will evolve independantly as an extension. Download Conversations 0.5 for Flock Cardinal (save to disk, then drag from your desktop to an open Flock window)

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