Saturday, July 12, 2008

IBM's Highlight shrinks huge websites for your tiny mobile phones

Those smart guys at IBM research groups have done it again... this time they're developing a software that lets mobile users create slimmed-down Web pages that can be viewed more easily on a small device such as a mobile phone. And it's called Highlight.

According to an
interview with the software developer Jeffrey Nichols, Tess Lau at IBM Almaden Research Center; Highlight will lets users record the steps required to perform a simple task on the Web, say looking up flight arrival information on a Web site. Users can "clip" sections from a Web site and then save them on another Web server, which then serves the slimmed-down pages to the mobile device.

The software itself is an extension to the Firefox browser and was built by researchers at IBM's Almaden Research Center, it can let Web surfers create their own versions of Web sites, free of the clutter that makes them hard to navigate on a small screen.

In addition to acting as a Web server for the mobile user, this second Web server actually runs a copy of the Firefox browser that fetches the data from the Web site being copied and then serves it up to the Highlight user. However, the fact that Highlight works with a proxy server presents a problem for Highlight's developers, however. Not all Web sites are happy to have their content copied onto other servers.
Nichols isn't sure whether this problem will be solved, but he's hopeful. "IBM or some other company could host a service that hosts these things," he said. Jeffrey Nichols added that Highlight's "task-driven things" works well for shopping on, or getting local restaurant recommendations from Google Maps.

Wow, sounds like another great alternatives for an old and aging web browsers. Let's say, like Blazer perhaps? ;-D But then we'll be faced with another problem; OS compability. If IBM is the muscle behind Highlight, it is highly possible that it'll support Linux OS.

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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