"The Internet and
"Web sites are typically linked to one another via Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). Users may navigate or browse within a site or between sites simply by selecting or clicking on menu choices, highlighted words, or graphics (i.e., links on Web pages) that represent URLs. Despite the fact that navigating the Web is easy (users simply point and click), as it exists today, the Web is a huge, daunting, mostly disorganized space in which people wander aimlessly from link to link (i.e., URL) in hopes of finding meaningful content. Browsing the Web is essentially a solitary experience. Most Web pages are designed to present information to users rather than to promote interactions with other humans. Most interaction with other humans consists of, 'check out this URL' by word of mouth, an e-mail message, or some other printed medium. Few, if any opportunities for interacting with others are presented to Web users.
"What is further confusing to many computer users is the fact that they must learn and use different user interface software for interacting with or navigating/browsing the information service (i.e., information service communication software) than they use for interacting with or navigating/browsing the Web. Users' on-line experiences are compromised because they must switch between applications to access information service content and then Internet/Web content. Switching between applications requires users to change not only the method of interaction, but also changes the context of interactions from community-oriented on the on-line service to solitary, less socially oriented interactions on the Internet/Web. Therefore, there is a need for an integrated method of interaction that allows computer users to access the Internet/Web using a commercially available browser, but also enjoy community-oriented activities and interactions of an on-line service that typically may be accomplished only by leaving the Internet/browser and switching to the on-line service contention-line service communication software. Web users need the ability to form on-line relationships with others and to communicate with others of similar interests or background."
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