Search option also in near future

Abhinav Ramnarayan

Chennai, March 10

Rediff.com, an Internet portal, has said that its news search service, Newshound, has launched its `wapsite', or mobile Internet Web site.

Newshound, which is available on Rediff.com's Web site, crawls the Internet and picks up news from about a thousand different sources and displays it under one Web address. As a result, the user can search by category, topic and region for any particular news item.

Mr Zakir Ansari, Managing Editor, Rediff.com, said that this would be convenient for business people travelling from one city to another.

"If I am heading towards Chennai, I can check what the headlines are in a local newspaper, just to be cued in," he said. The news items are categorised by topic (for example news, cricket) and by region.

And with the service going mobile, this would be even more convenient, he said. Available on the wapsite http://nh.rediff.com, the page can be accessed on any phone with GPRS facility.

Currently, there are about three million GPRS enabled phones using GSM technology, and 15 million using CDMA technology - in which it is referred to as `data-enabled', according to Ms Preeti Desai, President, Internet and Mobile Association of India. And Rediff.com is targeting all of those users. Mr Ansari said that as of now, the user is likely to be the typical young trendy executive. "But within a short span, we believe that GPRS will be all pervasive, within a year or even six months."

He said, "The main difficulty we had was not in the engineering technology but in screen geometry." The problem is in creating a simplistic design that would look presentable on every screen, he added. Rediff.com has, therefore, decided to go for a design that bypasses the screen size problem.

Instead of a vertical list, which is the norm among wapsites, the categories will appear side by side, and will `wrap' according to the screen size, which means it will arrange itself to suit different screen lengths.

The company will also look to add a search option to the Newshound service in the near future.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 11, 2006)
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