Sounds a lot like what KnowNow was building + an object router.
Will the "refresh" button become obsolete?
By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
April 1, 2001, 9:00 p.m. PT
A new company backed by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and MIT Labs
Director Nicolas Negroponte is bringing real-time information updates to
the Web browser. No longer will stock traders and eBay aficionados have to
refresh their browser windows: Bang Networks' service will update the stock
price or auction bids they're looking at as the changes happen.
Bang is trying to create a version of the Net that's more like a stock
trader's always-moving ticker, or the interactive face of a PC software
program, than today's static Web pages. Analysts are warm to the idea,
though they say the most interesting applications for the idea probably
will be found beyond real-time updates of financial information or sports
"It's really clever and definitely expands the envelope of the feasible,"
said Jupiter Research analyst Peter Christy. "It's taking care of one of
the design problems in the browser, which is that you can't push
information to the browser even if it's willing."
The service functions by creating a constant connection to a Web browser
from a parallel content network run by Bang, a little like Akamai
Technology's decentralized network of content servers. A surfer on Excite,
for example, would load a full page from the original source, but then the
site would establish a direct connection between Bang's network and her
browser. This would remain open as long as she is on the site, updating
changes in the page as they're made.
This also reduces bandwidth costs for Web sites, since they don't have to
send the full page to the surfer every time she wants another updated stock
quote or sports score.
The service launches shortly after the launch of a rival, FineGround
Networks, which performs much the same activity though an entirely
different technology model.
Bang, which managed to win $18 million in funding during last fall's
venture capital drought, is launching with a few strong customers,
including Excite@Home and Dow Jones.
But executives said the consumer audience for real-time updates inside Web
browsers probably isn't as large as inside corporations or financial
institutions, where a few seconds can actually translate into meaningful
"Those businesses are all about information," said Bang President Bob
Rosin. "Everybody wants to move to the Internet (for their information),
but there hasn't been good technologies to do this."
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