Deep joy for Web wanderers

May 12, 1995

World-Wide Web users may be wrestling already with browsers and access times - now they can have these exploratory joys in triplicate.

A 3-D browser has just been released by the California-based Silicon Graphics. WebSpace ("because the world is not flat") is the first such browser to be made available commercially.

The software is available for downloading in beta version from the splendid but slow-to-load SGI Web pages at a nominal cost but with a $49 optional support fee.

The commercial WebSpace1.0 should allow web visitors to rotate, walk through and spin 3-D renderings of architecture and molecules, for example.

The software will run on IBM compatible PCs and other workstations with a Macintosh version planned for sometime this year.

It is able to interpret SGI's Virtual Reality Modelling Language which adds support for geometric shapes to HTML.

Browsing in 3D is limited to view-only although SGI had said it is planning to include the option to exchange 3-D files between client and server.

The software was shown at the recent World-Wide Web conference in Darmstadt, in Germany and at the Spring Net World exhibition in the United States.

Further information is available from Meanwhile Web users - at least those with IBMcompatible PCs.- should soon be hearing the last of one of the service's more dubious pleasures: downloading audio files A new technology, developed by United States IT firm Progressive Networks, will enable PC users equipped with conventional multimedia systems and voice-grade telephone lines to browse, select and play back audio or audio-based multimedia content on demand, as easily as using a standard video cassette player/recorder.

A beta version of the software, called Real Audio, has just been releasedon the Web. Versions for the Mac and Unix are planned.

The system promises to make it possible for providers of entertainment, information and news content to deliver audio-on-demand services that can be accessed and played back immediately. Before this software was released, typical download times were considerably longer than the actual playing time of the file.

Further details and a downloadable version are available at

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