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Fast Web browser to be commercialised
Friday, January 09 2004
by Matthew Clark

The controversial winner of last year's Esat BT Young Scientist competition, Adnan Osmani, says his 'mega-browser' will be ready for commercialisation soon.

Latest ENN headlines
Fast Web browser to be commercialised
For the record 9 January
In the papers 9 January

Speaking with ElectricNews.Net, the 17-year-old Sheffield University computer engineering student said that in about seven months' time, patents for the Xwebs mega browser should be filed and the software will be primed for commercialisation. Osmani said that he hopes to sell the technology to an interested company, holding on to the proceeds as a nest egg.

"I guess I always thought that it might have commercial potential when I was working on it, but mostly, I wasn't really thinking about that," he said. "I just wanted to get it done."

The Xwebs mega browser gave the Mullingar boy international acclaim last year when it won the top prize at the Esat BT Young Scientist Awards in Ireland, as well as the esteem of the tech industry and even a job offer from Microsoft upon his graduation from college. The Internet browser included direct access to 120 search engines and incorporated five different media players for sound and video, as well as DVD functions and a talking guide named Phoebe.

Osmani said he has since added 30 more audio and video features to the software, which is based on Microsoft's Internet Explorer. When unveiled last year, the Young Scientist judging panel described the work as "university-level" and the panel was forced to bring in experts to test the software's capabilities as well as Osmani's knowledge of programming.

But what really launched the young man into the cyber-public's eye was a claim that Xwebs could increase the speed at which a browser functions by a factor of two to five times on a normal PSTN telephone line. The so-called "hyperspeed" technology worked by making multiple requests for the information on a Web page in several small data streams.

The claims earned him much praise initially, followed by doubt and eventually criticism and negative commentary on the Internet's many blogs and mailing lists. Many said that the technology couldn't match Osmani's claims, while other offered insults with their analysis. "I looked at what they were saying, even though they told me not to, and I have to say that some of it hurt," Osmani said.

But even now, with a year of upgrades packed into Xwebs, Osmani says that he has figured out a way to make the browser even faster, though he won't divulge details or exactly how much faster, describing the performance increase as "significant." He has aptly named the new hyperspeed technology "Icarus," the boy in the Greek myth who with wax wings flew too near the Sun. Unlike Icarus, Osmani does not plan to crash into the sea.

ENN

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