By now most of you know that Flock, a trendy new Mozilla-based “social web browser”, has gone live. Because it’s said to be a quintessential Web 2.0 application, I feel duty-bound to try it out. So I’ve downloaded it and will give it a go as my main browser for a while. I won’t however jump to conclusions and give you a half-baked review right now. But fear not, for there are plenty of great reviews around – including from members of the Web 2.0 Workgroup: TechCrunch, WeBreakStuff, SolutionWatch, Dion Hinchcliffe. ZDNet Aussie has a good write-up too.

There’s also an interesting post by Bart Decrem, founder and CEO of Flock, in which he defends their choice to create a brand new web browser instead of just extending Firefox:

“One of the most appealing aspects of building on the Mozilla platform is that we can build on top of a platform that is designed, developed, and maintained by top engineering talent at Mozilla, IBM, Sun, Red Hat, Google and hundreds of community volunteers. Flock is a small startup, and our business model is premised on being able to build on top of all that work.”

Fair enough. In my own testing of Flock, I’m going to focus on whether Flock will be suitable for mainstream, non-geek users. I’d like to think that if Flock is really a flagship Web 2.0 product, then it won’t just end up being used by bloggers and Slashdot readers. Web 2.0 has to reach out to mainstream people, before the blogosphere implodes from all the 2.0 hype and anti-hype (the latter is worse than the former IMHO, because it has the added fuel of cynicism).

So ‘Will Flock ever be mainstream’ is going to be my angle when exploring this new Web 2.0 browser. I’ll let you know how that goes.

UPDATE: Ben Barren picks up on my current ‘disruptive’ theme and asks: “My ‘is this real disruption or not’ question with flock is not whether it is an extension on Firefox, but will people really switch?” Ben’s post is well worth reading. Also check out this BusinessWeek article in which Bart Decrem says he “hopes to have 100 million users within five years.” Well, that would make it mainstream – if it happens. Also I meant to say: congrats to the Flock team on building and releasing what on the surface is an innovative browser play.