21 May 1996.
The Yahoo IPO meets
... on the Web!
Manufactured audience cues as
value-add to the Web... interactive is
redefined as a shared
experience, not group participation.
Intro netiquette manuals stress
the value of emoticons for punctuating
humor - an inelegant solution to an
increasingly non-textual medium. While
the Wall Street Journal devotes pages
to the findings of researchers studying
the language of laughter, a savvy tech
outfit could laugh its way to the bank
with a simple plug-in based on
television's classic, reliable
"laugh-track" technology. And it's not
just laughter that's contagious - think
of gasps, shrieks and wrenched tears.
Screw THX! With the RA plug-in, the
audience, once again, is listening.
RA technology would be made available
to Web authors as an set of extensions
to HTML - adding dynamic content to
otherwise static Web pages would be as
simple as "<laff>To get to the other
side.</laff>" On the client side, the
plug-in would monitor relative page and
mouse positioning to accurately deliver
the canned laughs. The beta could feature
a robust set of reactions, with actual
integrated feedback shipping by 3.0 at the
latest. Bottom line: Would you rather have
the audience listening to you or
The challenge for the RealAudience
engineering team lies in matching the
reading speed of the user with the laugh
track - the beta may require a calibration
process to account for individual reading
rates. Since timing is everything - a
delayed ship date might delay the
company's IPO - fallback would be to
license speech synthesis technology and
market it as the "high-end" RA package.
Shippable product in 2-3 months.
The Duke of URL