While Excite launched the three dimensional (3D) Web portal it jointly designed with Intel on Friday, it will be another two months before surfers who do not own a Pentium III system can access it.
Like traditional portal sites from Excite, Yahoo or Lycos, Excite Extreme enables users to undertake Internet searches and includes personalisation features, but each area of content on the site is now represented by a globe, with related topics circling around it.
However, the portal can currently only be accessed from Intel's Weboutfitter Web site, which was officially launched on Friday and showcases content developed especially for the Pentium III processor. It will be another two months before users without a Pentium III machine can access Excite Extreme and even then, they will still require a 400 MHz chip or faster.
Excite Extreme was developed in Java, which means it should, in principle, run on any processor and operating system. But Nick Glassman, manager of the Excite Extreme project, said that Pentium III users would also be able to download a special browser plug in that exploits the 3D instructions in the new Intel processor to make the graphics appear smoother and the motion more fluid.
Excite Extreme was developed by a team of developers from Intel, Excite and Razorfish, a Web design firm, and as a result, Glassman said there were no plans to develop similar plug ins optimised for other processors such as AMD's K6-2.
Excite is also looking at a new approach to advertising. "There won't be any banner ads on the site," he explained because the firm will work with a small number of partners that will provide sponsored "content pavillions."
While Excite Extreme was designed for fast computers accessing the Internet over slow connections, Excite also plans to develop a specialised portal site for broadband users. The company is in the process of being acquired by broadband Internet provider, @Home, in a $6.7 billion deal announced in January.
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