Top 10 specialty Web browsers you may have missed

These oddly useful alternative browsers offer such advantages as 3-D searching, social networking, easy scriptability, and powerful page manipulation

By Peter Wayner, InfoWorld |  Software, web browsers

SpaceTime is a browser that brings some of this promise to us now by building an "unlimited 3D space" and floating the data around in these three dimensions. If tabbed browsing arranges your information in one axis along the tab bar, SpaceTime uses three axes.

Is this just eye candy? I suppose it can look like that from time to time, but it offers more than just three dimensions for some websites. The SpaceTime developers tuned the browser to unpack the search results from major sites like eBay, Flickr, and Google into constellations of floating windows. I'm not sure it's perfect, though, because the special feature didn't work with every website I tried.

This will probably be fixed in the future because I found the effect to be captivating, if a bit slicker than I need on a daily basis. But when I come back from the movies and feel like the future isn't arriving fast enough, I can always power up SpaceTime.

SpaceTime renders Web search results in a 3-D space, making it easy to flip through them. This window shows five images from Google's image search in response to the keyword "Baltimore."

Specialty Web browsers: Browse Wikipedia better with Gollum Just as Facebook and Twitter are now big enough to justify Flock, a browser tuned to those data feeds, the Wikipedia's success begat Gollum, a browser that displays Wikipedia information and Wikipedia information alone.

I'm not sure if Gollum qualifies as a browser per se because it really just opens up a simpler pop-up window in whatever browser you're using. But people call it such, and I'll go along because it illustrates some of the possibilities of tuning a browser to a particular data feed. The heavy lifting of parsing and displaying continue to be done by your browser of choice, but Gollum gets the credit. Gollum merely passes the requests through a devoted proxy server and updates the page with AJAX.

This proxying will be most important to people who are blocked from reading Wikipedia, because the network traffic looks like URL calls to gollum.easycp.de. Your calls to read a page aren't going to the Wikipedia site, but to some innocuous place in Germany.

There aren't many features to Gollum, but that's sort of the point. All of the sidebars and extra information is stripped away to reveal just the pure text from Wikipedia. This simplicity ends, though, if you click on the edit button. Gollum opens a window in your browser that communicates directly with the Wikipedia server at edit.wikipedia.org.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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