- The lack of an economical way to track and bill for small-value trans-
actions across many Net services
- The desire for anonymity in Net value transactions -- i.e., a virtual
equivalent to cash
- Users' disinclination to send credit-card data over the Net
- Users' concerns about divulging personal information to a myriad of
suppliers, in order to gain access to the content they offer
- The unwieldy and growing set of authentication/password information
that each online user must track as s/he signs up for disparate Net
- The requirement of advertisers to know, on at least a statistical /
demographic basis, who is receiving their messages
- Parents' desire to keep offensive Web content from their children
(see TBTF for 1995-08-08)
Here's how it works. You sign up with an information-provider of your
choice -- it could be your local Internet access provider, an online
newspaper, AT&T, or ESPN -- and choose a username and password. Your
chosen provider is the only entity that needs to maintain any personal
information about you, such as address and phone number. Your provider
bills you monthly for all charges incurred from any Clickshare-enabled
publisher anywhere on the Net.
The first time in an online session that you request a URL from any
Clickshare provider, you give your name and password and your account
is validated by Newshare. Thereafter you surf freely, and any further
Clickshare transactions occur without reauthentication; and they occur
anonymously. The provider knows only that you are a valid Clickshare user.
The Clickshare system tracks your Web-surfing activities, but anonymously,
and accumulates similar data for all users throughout the system. This
allows advertisers and publishers to access demographic reports of what
users are requesting without compromising users' privacy.
Clickshare is not the first proposal of this type but it may be the
most comprehensive to date. It combines features of Digicash's ecash
<http://www.digicash.com/ecash/ecash-home.html>, IPro's I/CODE system
<http://www.ipro.com/>, and some of the back-office functions of Open
Market <http://www.openmarket.com/products/ProdDescrTMS.html>. It
requires no hardware or software at the user end. And if offers the
advantage to the user of entrusting personal information only to one
single organization that s/he can freely choose.
Newshare announced the ClickShare concept on Sept. 15 and promises a live
demo by Oct. 12 at their Web site, <http://www.newshare.com/>. Currently
they offer a simulation of Clickshare that serves to convey its flavor.
For a quick summary of Clickshare's main features, I recommend the anno-
tated illustration at <http://www.newshare.com/News/chart.html>.)
The following two news items are further evidence for the thesis put
forward recently in a New York Times article titled "The Geeks Who
Stole Cyberspace": the concensus is solidifying that the PC, not the
TV, is the box that will sit at the home end of the Information Super-
highway. The major players are backpeddaling away from the old idea of
500-channel interactive TV and getting behind the Internet in something
like its current form.
Larry Ellison at Oracle has been deep into the deals put together to
develop interactive-TV trials, so it's perhaps not surprising that his
vision is closer to the "set-top box." Bill Gates has a different idea
to be sure. Mark Andreeson can have it either way: he doesn't care
whether it's a Pentium P7 PC that runs Netscape, or a $100 Xerox PARC-
style wireless tablet.
>>From Weekly Recap (1995-10-08):
> NBC Desktop Video announced a new multimedia player which will enable
> users to click and play multimedia elements on the Internet at 14.4
> kb/s with no downloading time. The media player... enables transmis-
> sion of real audio at half the data rate of existing services, thus
> freeing bandwidth for the transmission of pictures and text. Micro-
> soft, Sun Microsystems and Netscape have agreed to support and be
> compatible with NBC Desktop Video's applications... NBC Desktop
> Video's existing information services, NBC Professional and NBC
> Private Financial Network will become available in multimedia format
> on the WWW in December 95... By the end of 1Q96, NBC Desktop Video's
> technology will enable real-time multimedia coverage on the WWW of
> live events.
>>From Edupage (1995-10-08):
> ORACLE PLANS "WEB TV"
> Oracle Corp. is developing a low-cost network computer designed to
> download video content from the Internet. Dubbed "Web TV," the $500
> device "will video-enable the Internet," says CEO Larry Ellison, who
> sees education and electronic commerce as potentially strong markets.
> "Movies-on-demand for interactive TV doesn't make sense either
> culturally or economically. But this critical new technology of
> video-conferencing does, and so does news-on-demand, financial news.
> That's worth updating." (Investor's Business Daily 6 Oct 95 A3)
>>Online Business Today -- send mail to email@example.com .
>>Weekly Recap -- mail firstname.lastname@example.org without subject
> and with message: subscribe multimedia-list .
>>Edupage -- mail email@example.com without subject
> and with message: subscribe edupage <your name> .