It's called Blackbird, and is described by its creators as "the web browser for the African American community," supposedly making it easier for African Americans to discover relevant content on the web, and to interact with other members of the African American community, online, by sharing stories, news, comments, videos, and more...
The browser displays a pre-set news ticker on top, pulling in relevant news content from Google News that might be of interest to African-Americans, and features a section with video content from online TV sites like UptownLiveTV, NSNewsTV, DigitalSoulTV and ComedyBanksTV.
Other than that, there’s a lot of integration with the most popular social networks (Facebook, etc), something called a "Black Search," preset "Black Bookmarks," and more.
There’s also a "Give Back" program that streamlines donations to a number of non-profit organizations (Blackbird intends to donate 10% of its 2009 revenue to these partners as well).
It's a free download, by the way, paid for with lots of targeted advertising - no surprise there.
So, the question begging to be asked is, do we really need a "Black web browser?"
I'm content with Firefox, especially with all the customization tools that are already built into it, as are in most recent versions of all the popular browser applications.
But kudos to the team (all African American engineers) for taken on the endeavor, and seeing it all the way to fruition; however, I just don't think it's warranted. I understand niche products and marketing, but this one seems completely unnecessary.
Why not just create a competing browser, as opposed to a "Black browser?"
Although, I suppose one could ask that question about other ideas - for example, why not just create a film, as opposed to a "black film?" Or why not just create a blog or podcast dedicated to film in general, as opposed to a blog/podcast dedicated to "black film?"
There's a difference... I can't imagine how exactly this "black browser" will improve on my web surfing experience, enough to make me switch from the browser I currently use. Finding the content I need (whether it's "black content") has never really been a problem for me; and, as I said above, today's browsers come with enough customizable features that make it quite easy for me to navigate the world wide web, and connect with whatever my wants and desires are.
It'll have to provide me with some obvious elevated experience, or some advantage over its competitors, to make me want to consider using it. And, from everything I've read about it, and taking my limited experience with it into consideration, there's absolutely nothing of the sort.
In addition, the timing of it is all wrong, with so many browsers already crowding the marketplace. It's several years too late, I think, and would have had a much better shot at success if it was built 5 years ago.
No immediate word on how much interest there is in the Blackbird browser. It's been in existence for about 3 weeks, in beta, so you can check it out for yourself here: BLACKBIRD.
And let me know what you think about it.