Spot on Web surfing

Spot on Web surfing

Australian software startup SpotOn has launched a free browser add-on that aims to make surfing the Web faster and more efficient. In addition to the existing Back and Forward buttons, the program adds a new concept: a `Next' button.

According to company officials, the new browser is aimed at more experienced users, and will make surfing the Web more elegant by allowing users to skim through a series of links that have been selected in advance and stored in the browser's cache memory.

`When you think about it, the browser hasn't changed much since it was invented 10 years ago, and it really isn't the most efficient way to navigate the Web,' Philip Copeland, SpotOn's founder and chief executive officer, said in a recent interview. The company was founded by Copeland last year and has offices in Sydney and San Francisco.

SpotOn lets users select a series of links and store them in the program's `Web Player' feature, which sits on the left side of a user's PC screen and somewhat resembles RealNetworks RealPlayer. Hitting the Web Player's Next button advances the user to the next Web site in a sequence.

Copeland believes SpotOn could prove particularly useful for navigating the long lists of links that appear in newsgroups or Web search results.. Traditional browsers require a user to flip back and forth using the Back button to access each new link. With SpotOn, even if a user goes off on a surfing tangent, the Next button will always return them to the next link in the sequence.

The program also lets users annotate Web links as they save them in the Web Player, as well as e-mail a tour of Web sites to a friend, customer or employee. Besides targeting consumers, SpotOn hopes its software will be popular with online stores, content providers and other businesses that want to compile `Web Tours' for customers or employees.

While the product is free for consumers, SpotOn hopes to make money by licensing its software for use by large corporations and selling targeted advertising space on the software's user interface.

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