RockMelt, a new web browser that highlights social networking, launched on Monday with backing from the co-founder of browsing pioneer Netscape.
RockMelt, which launched in beta, or test, version is vying to make a mark in a crowded Web browser arena that already features Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox.
RockMelt is backed by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and several other Web luminaries including Bill Campbell, the former chief executive of Intuit, and Ron Conway, whose investments include Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Based in Mountain View, California, home to Google, RockMelt said the company has "re-imagined the browser for modern Web users, building in the Web's most popular services."
"RockMelt enables you to interact and share with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other sites instantly from anywhere on the Web," it said in a statement.
"RockMelt integrates your Facebook friends directly into the browser, so you're always ready to chat, share a video, or keep up on what your friends are doing, wherever you are on the Web."
RockMelt displays a user's social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in a margin on the right hand side of the page and friends on the left hand side.
"Today's Web users need a browser that does more than just navigate pages," said RockMelt co-founder and chief executive Eric Vishria. "RockMelt helps people do the things they do every single day -- keep up with their friends, share, get updates, and search."
Andreessen, who launched a venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, in July, said "RockMelt is onto something huge."
"They've rethought the browser around the massive shifts in user behavior that will drive the Web over the next decade," he said.
"RockMelt is the freshest, most innovative take on browsing since browsers were created," added Andreessen, who launched Netscape in 1994 and sold it to AOL four years later.
RockMelt, which works on Apple's Macintosh computers and computers running Microsoft's Windows is built on top of Chromium, the open source project behind Google's Chrome.
Invitations to use the beta version are available at rockmelt.com.