24 May Plucking information from the web
It’s as if a collective “a-ha!” hit the brains of some of the Internet’s earliest entrepreneurs, an a-ha that is spawning a new generation of Web browser tools designed to make finding and using Web-based information much easier than it is today.
At DEMO 2004, three companies – BIGontheNet, e.Story, and Groxis – took a swing at the problem with tools that helped manage Web search results.
Then, in March, JJ Allaire and his re-assembled team from the Allaire Software days introduced Onfolio (the company and the product). The tool is designed to help you research, organize, and share information found across the Internet. (You can read my review at http://cshipley.typepad.com/chriss_product_quick_take/2004/03/onfolio_libera t.html.)
And rumor has it that Chris Alden of (the first) Red Herring may be up to something in this category, too.
But today, the spotlight is on Dave Panos (of DataBeam fame) and Andrew Busey (founder of iChat) and their new company, Pluck.
In a story that sounds familiar, Dave and Andrew were “looking for an interesting project” last year and began to focus on the problem of managing all the information people gather from the Web. Their innovation came as they began to look at the processes they used to find and share information and determined that those processes – searching multiple sites, scanning RSS feeds, emailing links – needed to be deeply integrated into the browser tools and Web sites they already used. The result of this insight is Pluck, a plug-in application for Internet Explorer.
Pluck is a simple tool that delivers a great deal of value. It installs a navigation panel on the left of the browser window, and splits the right side horizontally to display links on the top and Web pages on the bottom. In design, Pluck effectively gives IE a makeover so that it resembles (and actually works a bit like) Outlook 2003.
For many, the most immediately useful tool is the Pluck Power Search, which simultaneously searches Google, eBay, and Amazon.com and delivers results into the link window. You can riffle through large result sets quickly by applying, changing, and removing local filters. There are also mechanisms to mark links as “read” and to delete read items, helping you plow through the deluge of data that so often comes pouring in through search engines.
The Pluck RSS Reader puts blog feeds where they are best read and managed, in a browser window. While the approach may not support the offline model of newsreaders such as NewsGator that dump RSS feeds into your email inbox, it does make it very easy to navigate blog links online. Like everything in Pluck, the RSS Reader is straightforward, simple, and just enough tool to get the job done well.
While Busey and Panos tout the product’s collaboration features, the early release copy I downloaded would not allow me to register for the back-end service, which is the secret sauce of Pluck’s bookmarking and link-sharing capabilities. According to the two, Pluck Sharing allows users to share Web pages with others with one just one mouse click. Those pages are then available in “active” shared folders that can be viewed by authorized persons. It’s a simple collaboration system that eliminates the need for users to email links you want to share.
Pluck My Web is a bookmark manager that lets users organize, add comments to, and access their Web link. The MyWeb app provides the feature I most want: the ability to easily synchronize bookmarks among multiple computers.
It is true that the Web is creating an information glut that is just plain difficult for the average person to manage. Pluck has taken a pragmatic approach to the problem and given us an elegant tool. Where Onfolio provides capabilities that are better suited to researching, Pluck is an everyday companion to your Web browser.
No doubt we’ll continue to see an onslaught of these tools in the months to come. Fortunately, the business model of these early players makes it easy to try them out and settle on the one that works most like you do. You can download Pluck today at www.pluck.com .
Acquisition fever has hit Lucent. The company picked up Telica, a maker of IP gateway gear. The deal, worth $295 million in stock, gives Lucent critical tools for its voice over IP lineup. According to Network World, Lucent has a strong base in the major North American long-distance and local carrier networks. The buyout is expected to close by the end of this year… Wondering if wireless LANs can continue their upward climb? According to Sage Research and Infonetics, wireless LANs are poised to enjoy continuous growth. Infonetics has wireless LAN hardware revenue reaching $714 million by 2005 compared to the $696 million it saw this year. Sage Research says consumer market sales were up 7 percent from 2003. For more on this, go to www.nwfusion.com . . . PalmOne and Xerox have been going rounds on a patent for a single-stroke handwriting recognition system. Xerox says that PalmOne is infringing on its “Unistrokes” patent . According to IDG News Service the lawsuit dates back to the days when U.S. Robotics developed the Graffiti software used in Palm handhelds. Over the years, the suit has transferred and followed PalmOne when it spun out from Palm. The most recent ruling – handed down last week – found in favor of PalmOne.
Are you ready to launch at DEMOmobile 2004?
The search is under way to find the 50 products that will launch at DEMOmobile 2004, September 8-10, 2004, in La Jolla, California.
DEMOmobile is a high-visibility launch platform that will set your company on the path to success. It’s the best venue for positioning new mobile and wireless products and establishing strategic relationships with the players who will lead you to success. The conference’s stringent selection process and excellent reputation serves as an endorsement for your product as it comes to market. DEMO events have helped companies like Palm, Handspring, IBM Pervasive Computing, Logitech, Mirra, Tapwave, Macromedia – even Microsoft – launch their products, create critical business relationships, and sell to thought-leading early adopters.
DEMOmobile 2003 demonstrators benefited from more than 162 million media impressions before, during, and long after the event.
Visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demonstrate/tour/index-demo2.html to learn more and complete an online application.
DEMOmobile 2004 September 8-10, 2004 Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA http://www.demomobile.com/M4DL
Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld’s DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.
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