ThirdVoice - Contextual-search browser add-on
ThirdVoice 2000 (PC only)
= worth knowing
Integrates site-specific discussion facilities.
ThirdVoice 2000 delivers aggregated content, commerce, and communities specific to the selected text. ThirdVoice gained worldwide attention when it introduced Web "sticky notes" in May 1999 - a program that gave people a brand new way to use the Web and participate in online communities. ThirdVoice has evolved its Web notes service into the personal Web assistant that promises to radically improve the way people access information, conduct commerce and participate in discussions online. The new product, ThirdVoice 2000, turns words on any Web page into so-called Active Words - words that users click on to instantly open gateways to the Web's top content, commerce, and communities.
ThirdVoice 2000 magnifies the amount of information and content immediately available from any word or phrase on any Web page. ThirdVoice 2000 automatically retrieves on demand from stock quotes and product comparisons to online communities discussing virtually any topic, all while attempting to reduce the haphazard process of searching and surfing multiple sites. The results are mixed, though certainly interesting.
You can click on any word or phrase and ThirdVoice will bring you content it may find that is relevant to that word. ANY word on any web page will deliver at a minimum, a dictionary, thesaurus and an automatic web search.
There is also a modality called "Shop mode", in which you can click on a product name and get specific info, product reviews, and links to where you can purchase the item.
In "Discuss mode," you can share your thoughts and opinions with other ThirdVoice users and you can also participate in a discussion group and create your own.
By clicking on the Discuss button, any word or phrase becomes a launch pad for discussing, sharing, and connecting with other people on the Web. Specifically ThirdVoice points you to:
a) Discussions relevant to a selected word or phrase.
b) Discussions with people across the Web, not just on the site you are surfing.
c) It gives you the ability to start your own online ThirdVoice groups--Public or Private.
There is also instant access to ThirdVoice communities as well as other popular online communities. I personally found this resource/facility untapped. There is frequently a lack of focus in the discussions and there are thousands messages about nothing at all. I believe there is a better use for this, and I wish the company would figure it out and bring it forward for us users.
At the present time, ThirdVoice 2000 is only available for Internet Explorer 4.0 and 5.0 on the PC only. The company says that ThirdVoice for Netscape Navigator 4.0 will be available in the near future.
I also encountered many installation and compatibility issues (both on Win95 and NT) that I did not enjoy having to tackle.
It seems that these web-add-ons or Internet Explorer utilities/plug-ins have a difficult time co-existing. Therefore, be careful that your system tray is not overflowing with "helpful" search assistants.
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