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Startup Webaroo to put the 'Web on a Hard Drive'? 340

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the starting-the-data-storage-arms-race dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new startup called Webaroo is launching Monday with an audacious proposition: You can search the Web without a net connection of any kind. Initial release consists of 'Web packs' on specific topics such as news, city guides or Wikipedia. Later this year they're promising a full-Web version that you can carry on a laptop -- provided you're willing to devote something in the neighborhood of 80 gig."
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Startup Webaroo to put the 'Web on a Hard Drive'?

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  • Dotcom v3.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saven Marek (739395) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:50PM (#15095311)
    A new startup called Webaroo is launching Monday with an audacious proposition: You can search the Web without a net connection of any kind.

    If anyone doubted the next dotcom boom is upon us, this should put that doubt to rest.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:51PM (#15095318)
    How soon till the first lawsuit is filed.
  • by php_krisp (858209) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:52PM (#15095320)
    Is this really the right to to try this? when wi-fi connections are popping up all over the place and the internet's bigger than it ever has been before?
  • Copyright? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MustardMan (52102) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:53PM (#15095323)
    Considering the fact that companies are suing google for putting the first paragraph of their news tidbits on google news, how long will it be before someone sues webaroo for copyright infringement? Whether the claim is valid or reasonable or not is a moot point - someone is gonna see this as infringement and call out their pack of rabid lawyers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:53PM (#15095331)
    wireless broadband access.. why would I want to download the web on my harddrive, when I will have (if not already) access to it from virtually anywhere ?

    I see potential educational uses, but not wide spread adoption.
  • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:57PM (#15095351) Homepage Journal
    e.g. searching? Having Wikipedia on your hdd is all well and good, but if you can't easily search it, what's the point?
  • Re:Dotcom v3.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @01:58PM (#15095355) Journal
    I was JUST thinking that. This seems like the beginning of a whole slew of semi-ridiculous ideas that get funded because their proponents seem 'ahead of their time'. Did someone at a funding company not think of the following two points:

    1) the web is growing at a phenomenal rate. in a few years, the only thing that you'll be able to fit on even high-density media is very narrow, specific content. is there really such a huge market for that?

    2) wifi is nearly ubiquitous. why pay for a static snapshot of the web that will be obsolete in a few days when you can walk into a starbucks with you laptop and get the fresh stuff almost for free??

    I'm sure the guys who want to put the web on a disk have thought these points through, but me...I just really want to sigh. and buy some short-term stocks.

  • by redheaded_stepchild (629363) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:02PM (#15095371)
    This is the single dumbest thing I've seen on Slashdot recently. As someone has already posted, why carry the internet as hard copy when wifi is becoming ubiquitous? In any case, is it just my tin-foil-hat nature that sees this as a great way of hiding/censoring parts of the internet? I mean, if this were to actually take off we'd be trusting a single source of info, with little or no culpability to the public. Granted if this became popular we'd see other sources come in, but....oh to hell with it.
     
    I'm not going to waste any more time on this. It's just an exercise in paranoia. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • 80 gig web? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hlh_nospam (178327) <concealedhandgun@@@gmail...com> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:04PM (#15095380) Homepage Journal
    That would cover about 0.0000000001% of the web, give or take a few dozen orders of magitude.
  • Re:Dotcom v3.0 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <`tepples' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:19PM (#15095456) Homepage Journal

    in a few years, the only thing that you'll be able to fit on even high-density media is very narrow, specific content.

    The thing is that Wikipedia, with all its imperfections and gaps, is still a surprisingly good start.

  • by caffeination (947825) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:20PM (#15095460)
    So your personal computing habits are the yardstick by which all IT products are to be measured?

    When your argument is based exclusively on your opinions and personal experience, global absolutes like "this idea is bad" come off as arrogance. Phrases like "this is useless to me" are more accurate.

  • Re:80 gig web? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hlh_nospam (178327) <concealedhandgun@@@gmail...com> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:23PM (#15095474) Homepage Journal
    No images and compression on the text would probably change that quite a bit.

    Not enough so's you'd notice. What's the difference between one thimbleful of ocean and 100 thimblefuls of ocean? Besides trying to solve the wrong problem to begin with?

  • by sunwolf (853208) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:35PM (#15095521)
    How are they to justify selling other peoples' websites? What about the sites' lost ad revenues?
  • by tepples (727027) <`tepples' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:37PM (#15095536) Homepage Journal

    How are they to justify selling other peoples' websites?

    In much the same way that ISPs justify selling access to other people's web sites.

  • by Josh teh Jenius (940261) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:42PM (#15095552) Homepage

    You raise excellent points which warrant discussion.

    As many have said, the "point" of the Interent (as I see it) is LIVE contact with (just about) everything.

    As many of us understand, 99% of traditional media is owned by the major corps like Disney, Viacom, News Corp, etc. If this is conspiracy theory, then Jon Stewart is a tinfoil hat nut because this is all spelled out in the Daily Show's "America: the book."

    Like many of you, I was attracted to the Interent because I assumed it escaped this sort of control paradaigm. I figured, heck, who would even *try* to control this much info?

    These days, when I browse the top sites on Alexa for example, I see the same sort of "media mafia" tactic has overrun the web in 2006.

    So what? IMO: we are all wrong. My extreme views are just as stupid as yours, however, as my grand-pappy used to say: "somewhere in the middle lies the truth". I feel that the "wackos" on all sides are CRITICAL, and that this "societal average" is the closest we will ever come to "truth". I find anything which threatens this function of the Internet as detrememntal to me, my country, and my fellow man.

    Someone around here has a great sig (sorry, but I am terrible with names), something like: "the problem with wikipedia is that it only works in practice, in theory, it can't possibly work." To whomever shared this with me: right on. This is exactly how I felt about the Internet circa 1996, and the reason I am so hurt to se where it is 10 years later.

  • by gihan_ripper (785510) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:53PM (#15095578) Homepage

    Even if this is doable and legal, it runs entirely counter to the spirit of the Internet. The Internet on a hard disk is no longer a network, it becomes a passive entity with no possibility of interaction.

    At the moment, we are seeing a return to the interactive origins of the Internet, prime examples being blogging, Wikipedia, and even Slashdot! If this projects takes off it will be harmful to interaction and will turn the Net into a glorified television.

    However, I find it unlikely that Webaroo will gain currency, precisely because we have become dependent on an interactive and living Internet. When I use the Net, I want to be able to read and respond to my emails, to check my bank balance, shop online, and read the latest news. Why on earth would I want to have a static Internet on my laptop?

  • Re:Dotcom v3.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @02:57PM (#15095593)

    wifi is nearly ubiquitous.

    I think you're way off on this one. On the other hand, I have a suitable substitute:

    2. What the hell are they going to do about the copyright issues?

  • by Theatetus (521747) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:05PM (#15095619) Journal
    So what should the transatlantic and transpacific frequent fliers use?

    wget (while they're waiting in the airport).

  • Re:80 gig web? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:17PM (#15095652) Journal
    You make a good point, but there are ways to squeeze the size down. They aren't archiving the entire ocean, just the top layer, which is what 99% of people look at anyways.

    Compression, for one. Force people to use some proprietary browser (or a FireFox extension) and compress html files > xx KB so that the browser opens the archives on the fly. Zip up executables, pdf's, word documents, etc etc etc. Webservers & browsers use gzip to save bandwidth, why can't this archive use it to save space?

    Convert bitmaps into jpegs, recompress/resize jpegs greater than xx KB or some arbitrary height x width. (and make people pay more for uncompressed/resized images).

    Write up an automated tool to strip the html of links to ads while deleting the ad images/files too.

    That's just off the top of my head, but if anyone had 40GB of web pages to sift through, I'm sure they can come up with some other intelligent ways to save space.
  • Re:Dotcom v3.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeriar (456730) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:28PM (#15095692) Homepage
    What the hell are they going to do about the copyright issues?

    Quoted for truth. I know I'm not the only one who thought "Hey, this would be cool... but the target websites are going to be pissed about losing their ad revenue."

    For sites like Wikipedia and others whose goal is the distribution of their content, this isn't as much of a big deal (unless, in the case of Wikipedia, they snapshot a vandalized site...), but a lot of content providers won't be happy about getting their ad revenue stolen.
  • Re:Dotcom v3.0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JourneyExpertApe (906162) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:43PM (#15095746)
    Not to mention the copyright issues. I don't think many companies/individuals would want their websites being packaged and sold without their consent.
  • Re:Cache exemption (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ammoQ (454616) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:49PM (#15095765)
    It doesn't seem likely to me that those Webaroo guys will be able to fullfill the conditions of (2), especially (C) and (E). The cache exemption is obviously targeted towards _online_ caches. This makes sense, IMO.
  • Re:Pr0n? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RoloDMonkey (605266) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:22PM (#15095871) Homepage Journal
    if(posts_to_slashdot && has_girlfriend)
      if(girlfriend.has_sensibilities)
        chance_of_lying = VERY_HIGH;
      else
        chance of lying = HIGH;
  • Mod parent down (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:24PM (#15095878)
    In much the same way that ISPs justify selling access to other people's web sites.

    Invalid comparison. Internet access, like electricity or water, is a utility. Providers put a large amount of resources in developing their infrastructure, and need a way to recoup those costs. Basic economics.

    The development of the Internet would've been set back a couple decades if ISPs weren't allowed to charge for their services.

  • Re:Hm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edbulldog (851508) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:56PM (#15096016)
    The only way one can store the "whole internet" in a 80GB drive is to drop off the pr0n. I mean... besides the pr0n, everything else should fit in a 80GB drive, right?
  • Re:Hm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:49AM (#15098616) Homepage
    Are you trying to be funny? 80 GB of PDF's out there? Buddy, there are departments of companies, not the whole company, that have more than 80 GB of PDFs available to the public on servers.... (sometimes limited public, i.e. customers, for owners manulas, docs etc....)

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