Keeping Up -- in Dog Years

A new directory helps developers keep up with the latest developments on the Internet

P> Time on the Internet, it is often said, can be measured in dog years: one normal year is worth at least seven on the Internet. So keeping up with technological developments is no easy task.

Thus, New York-based EarthWeb and Mountain View, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems Inc., have developed Gamelan, the central registry and directory for Java for the Internet. All new developments are logged there for Java, the hot new programming tool for multimedia on the World Wide Web. Gamelan got its name from the traditional island music of Java.

Presently, about 50 percent of the company's development work is in Java. But that is expected to increase this year, as many companies determine, for the first time, budgets for Web marketing and PR.

"Gamelan is the place where any developer and user will come to register who they are. They can also register any programs they've written or sites they've developed using Java," said EarthWeb partner Nova Spivak. "There is also documentation and press releases relating to Java. It has quickly grown."

In under two months, the site has received more than 3.5 million hits per month. It is the central site for anything to do with Java on the Web. There's everything from finance to games to educational materials to source code. This enables the community to grow around the Java product. "It creates a buzz around the product. We get a lot of [proposal requests] out of it. People come to Gamelan to learn about Java, and then they discover it is our site, and they ask us to do work for them," said Spivak. "So the technology is a marketing tool." Other changes are pending for corporate America because of the Web.

A spokesman for Sun said today only about 10 percent of the potential of the Web is being tapped, but that should increase to about 20 percent within two years. The technology should be nearly ubiquitous a few years after that. There will be Internet-based appliances. And companies no longer will merely repurpose content for the Internet. Marketers will have to create original content for the Internet.

Meanwhile, a survey showed that about 80 percent of companies plan to use interactive multimedia by 1997. The survey of nearly 2,000 CEOs and marketing vice presidents by the Alliance for Converging Technologies, Toronto, indicated that four of five companies will employ new media technologies by next year. What's more, the survey shows that 20 percent of each company's employees will tap the technology, whether it is networked interactive multimedia, videoconferencing or the Internet.

Companies that do not embrace the new public relations and communications tools will be "stuck in the industrial age," according to David Ticoll, president of the alliance. Another finding was that a strong CEO alone cannot push a company toward using the new tools. Other senior managers must buy in to the concept or it will fail.

Most Internet users also think potent news media conglomerates hurt the quality and free flow of news and information, and look to the new media to provide personalized control of important data, a survey by the Weber Group Inc., Boston, indicated. "The survey underscores that today's new breed of information consumer is demanding greater control of information, in terms of both content and immediate accessibility," said Larry Weber, president of the Weber Group. This emerging group of individuals is seeking new information resources, such as the Internet, to meet their communications requirements.

"The Web cannot be controlled by one company," said Jermoluk. "The technology is changing so fast right before our eyes."

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