Startup Transforms Windows Desktop Into Panoramic Display - InformationWeek

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Startup Transforms Windows Desktop Into Panoramic Display

360Desktop reorganizes the standard Windows desktop into a panoramic, revolving pane of glass thousands of pixels long.

360Desktop is a startup that reorganizes the standard Windows desktop into a panoramic, revolving pane of glass thousands of pixels long. 360Desktop is due to debut Wednesday at the DemoFall 2007 show in San Diego.

While not for everybody, this reorganization of the desktop opens the door to many additional user interface elements beyond the stack of icons currently found on a typical Microsoft Office desktop, Evan Jones, CEO of the Melbourne, Australia, firm, said in an interview.

360Desktop does not replace the Windows user interface. It overlays and redefines it so the viewing area can be extended, Jones said. He envisions numerous Web resources being added as the user scrolls through what is meant to feel like a continuous pane of glass, instead of just a screen.

He said it also will be a highly personalize-able environment, with some users perhaps using a favorite street scene in New York or Prague as their backdrop as they move around the desktop. As you reach the end of the scene, you keep going, starting around again.

The company offers an an artist's graphic of such a desktop on its Web site.

Google Maps, for example, could display a lot more information on such a desktop. Jones said Google Maps would recognize the dimensions of the window it was about to serve, even though it would be much larger than the ones it typically serves.

He hopes to make the 360Desktop product into a new medium for content authors, application user interface developers, and advertisers. The user interface includes an authoring tool for generating 360-Desktop content.

Ford, for example, could generate a desktop for Mustang owners that featured their favorite car driving through a 360 degree landscape. By allowing users to interact with a three-dimensional view of the car, Ford could build in advertising that is subtle rather than obtrusive, he said.

"Advertisers need to reach consumers in the context in which they're interested," Jones said.

Training applications and informational resources that would benefit from many pages of text, graphs, charts and other material stacked side by side could benefit from the 360-view.

RSS feeds and Web widgets, such as the Google Desktop Calendar or Calculator, can be placed directly on the 360Desktop and activated without first going to a browser window.

360Desktop includes an authoring tool that can apply searchable tags to keywords and build 360Desktop HTML content that can be shared on the Internet.

Jones credits his wife with giving him the idea for the extended desktop. She habitually used Post-It notes on her monitor until she ran out of space. She then taped a panoramic picture to the monitor with a hole cut for the screen, gaining more display space for Post-Its. "The 360Desktop was born from there," he says. The system becomes available Nov. 5.

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