Firefox: The new release candidate Firefox 3 RC2 is out. No date yet on the official launch, but they’re still saying June. Also, developers are starting to talk work that’s gone into what will become Firefox 3.1, such as completing CSS3 selectors support.

Opera: A new Opera 9.5 preview came out today, showcasing the browser’s new look. Also, the Opera Core team takes a look at what you can do if you put hardware acceleration on the whole browser.

Internet Explorer: IE8 beta 2 is scheduled for August. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve done, and figure I’ll start updating sites to accommodate changes. I held off changing too much when IE8b1 came out, because some of the differences were obviously bugs (triggering the Caio Hack, for instance; and yes, I reported it).

Flock has been moving ahead with small, rapid releases, adding integration for new services each time. They just added Digg and Pownce in Flock 1.2 a few days ago. Now they’re getting ready to start on Flock 2.0, which will merge in all the new capabilities of Firefox 3. That means it’ll get new rendering capabilities, better memory management, probably EV certs and such.

NetscapeFlock. When AOL first announced they were discontinuing Netscape, they recommended Firefox (a logical choice for many reasons). Since then, they’ve also started heavily promoting Flock—to the point of offering seamless upgrades from NS8 to Flock. (In theory, anyway; I fired up the copy I had for testing and couldn’t get it to do anything but update to the most recent 8.x version. Confirmed. I let it sit open in the background for a while, and it eventually popped up the offer for 1-click Flock migration.) Netscape 9 has an update notice that offers to download Flock or Firefox.

The key issue, of course, is moving as many users as possible from a discontinued browser—there’s no doubt that security holes will be found in it over time—to one that is actively maintained.

Why Flock, specifically? Well, sticking with the same toolkit and user profile makes migration easier, so that narrows the field to Firefox and Flock. (Not sure about SeaMonkey’s profile.) Since Netscape 8 and 9 were big on integrating with websites, Flock’s “social browser” seems a slightly better fit. And it turns out most of the Netscape 8 team went on to build Flock. Talk about social networking!

(via Flock: The Netscape Spirit Lives On)

Flock. The Flock web browser has just made its 1.0 release. This is the Firefox-based browser that’s built around integration with social networking sites.

Still no sign of a non-beta Safari 3 outside of Leopard.

Firefox.Five years ago, Mozilla was forced to rename the Phoenix web browser because Phoenix Technologies was working on an in-BIOS browser that would let you get on the internet and troubleshoot/download drivers/etc. even if your operating system was trashed. It became Firebird, and then Firefox. The Phoenix product has finally been released. Ironically, it’s evolved into an embedded Linux distro that runs… Firefox.

Flock. One of the problems with the ubiquitous Get Firefox! Get Opera! etc. web buttons is that while they might encourage someone unfamiliar with the product to check it out, they’re kind of pointless to someone who already uses your preferred browser. Sure, there’s a sense of, “Hey, this author uses Opera too!” but that’s about all it can do.

To make these a little more useful, on my Flash site, I use JavaScript to switch the button if someone’s using Firefox, and instead promote the Spread Firefox site. I’ve written up a similar method for Opera, though it’s less clear where to send people.

I recently discovered that Flock has taken another approach to solving this problem. As you may recall, Flock is a browser based on Firefox, focusing on social networking. It integrates with blogging sites, photo-sharing sites, bookmark-sharing sites and so on.

The Flockstars Extension expands on this by converting the button into a mini-profile. You fill in information like an avatar, usernames at Flickr, YouTube, etc., and links to your website(s). It generates button code that acts like an ordinary Flock button, but contains all this extra information.

The extension reads this information. Visitors to your site who are using Flock and the extension will see an icon in the toolbar, which will pop up a short profile and a menu of all the facets of your online presence.

It’s a cool idea, and seems to fit perfectly with Flock’s target audience. But it only solves half the problem. The browser promo badge is still there, still taking up space. The fact that the profile data is in the button code doesn’t make a difference; it might as well be stored in a set of META tags in the page head.

It’s been a good week for the Alternative Browser Alliance.

Last weekend, Opera Watch linked to it in the follow-up to the RSS icon controversy. (I use the site as my URL when posting on browser-related blogs and forums, and Daniel was kind enough to include the link when he highlighted the news I’d posted in the comments.)

On Tuesday, I linked to it myself in a comment on Slashdot. For once, a couple of hundred people clicked on the link. Not long afterward, it started popping up on StumbleUpon after a dry spell. (Coincidence? Well, maybe.)

On Thursday morning, the site got posted to Linkfilter, which led to a few dozen visits.

And finally, Thursday night, BBSpot posted it in their daily links, resulting in over 1500 visits over the past three days!

Thanks to everyone helping to spread the word!

Now I have to start replying to comments…

In related news, I’ve finally broken down and added Flock to the list. Mainly I stayed away from it because I’d already listed 7 Gecko-based browsers (8 if you count SeaMonkey separately from the Mozilla Suite), and it seemed overkill to add one more. I first tried out Flock back in October, and while it seemed interesting, it didn’t really grab me. Now that it’s in beta, it looks like progress is solid, and it’s different enough from Firefox or SeaMonkey to warrant inclusion.