17 Comments

Summary:

A few weeks back I wrote about Return of Rakesh Mathur and hinted at what his new company, Webaroo. Well, as cricket lovers like to say, the covers are off this one. My story on the start-up just went up on Business 2.0/ CNN Money website. […]

A few weeks back I wrote about Return of Rakesh Mathur and hinted at what his new company, Webaroo. Well, as cricket lovers like to say, the covers are off this one. My story on the start-up just went up on Business 2.0/ CNN Money website. The company has snagged a partnership with Acer, which is going to bundle the software with its laptops and eventually with its handheld computers.

The argument Mathur & Company make is that despite all the talk of always-on connectivity, the reality is very different. So just like you can pack your music collection to go, or carry your movies on your video iPod, why not the web. “What we are doing is giving you a connected experience in an offline form,” says Mathur, who is making a contrarian bet – that the price of storage will drop faster than broadband will spread.

Read the full story on Business 2.0/ CNN Money

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  1. isn’t this an RSS aggregator by another name?

  2. I think this is one of the also ran ideas among a host of others in the bubble 2.0. This only seems useful to users who like to be “connected” at all times and such users are generally savvy enough to subscribe to hotspots or cellular data services while the average joe at whom this service is targeted wouldnt care anyways.

    I also expect this service to run into legal hassles. You had posted an article yesterday of Veoh hoarding content not belonging to them. This software seems to be built along similar lines. no ?

  3. dascud,

    i think you are right about that it could get into legal hassles. my guess is there will be a lot of people up in arms about it, but the fair use arguments will hold. now this is just a guess. i have not heard anything otherwise!

  4. It’s not even a new idea: back in 1995, Frontier Technologies released its “SuperHighway Access CyberSearch”, a CD-ROM containing the “best of the Web” (1.0). More details at

    http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2006/04/webaroo-yawnaroo.html

  5. Vaibhav Domkundwar Monday, April 10, 2006

    This can actually be of a lot more value in developing nations where internet connectivity is still far from ubiquitous. The target market may be smaller in such nations, but if you think of a large number of mobile devices users in parts of Asia like India (where internet connectivity is still spreading slowly and cell phones are predominantly access devices) this might really come in handy. The Acer partnership makes a lot more sense from this perspective. I am not sure how effective this might be in the US, though I have experienced a need for this a few times. The legal aspects seem critical though.

  6. Emre Burak Turhan Mehmet Sokullu Monday, April 10, 2006

    I think this is a bad idea and has no future.. People are talking about webtops, and you still insist on offline content packing…

  7. Gregor J. Rothfuss Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Um, so these guys compete with a feature that has been in IE for over 5 years?

    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=196646

    Great business model :)

  8. sounds like a bad idea, that does not deserve the ink its getting.

    when so much of the web is interactive, catering to an offline world does not sound like a very attractive business idea.

    good luck with the business plan.

  9. You Mon Tsang Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Back in 1995, I started a company called Milktruck that had a Web utility that cached the web sites of your choice. For the best web sites, we were pretty smart about what we got. For instance, for the NYTimes, we knew where all the day’s stories were located and got them (rather than the about or search pages).

    We were bought by Traveling Software (makers of LapLink and interested in all things mobile). The product won all sorts of awards; we tried to sell it at $40 a piece (this was still early in Web development, so selling thru CompUSA seemed reasonable). But people wouldn’t buy.

    Since then, I’ve seen offline-browsing utilities come and go and none has stuck. While I really want someone to solve this problem well, I don’t think enough people want it.

    As for the legal issues: as long as people use it for personal use, it was fair use. I do not know for sure, but if WebaRoo is packaging and then redistributing, then it may be a grayer issue.

  10. I can see some interesting titles:

    “Thousands of things you cannot, but wish you could, do w. Webaroo!!”

    “Startup attracts invesment to repackage a failed Internet Explorer feature introduced ages ago …”

    “Webaroo: Internet for people who drink decaf!”

    Just having a little fun … silly idea, but wish them the best :)

  11. wow – this looks to be ready to be put up along side pets.com and webvan for all time bad ideas…

  12. So I have to know ahead of time what I will need to search…I agree with most of the posts…an also ran idea that 3-G networks, and free city Wi-Fi roll outs will obviate…

  13. Webaroo has many interesting idea.
    1. It allows you to take the website of your choice offline apart from their own created web packs.
    2. The website can be auto-updated hence you are always with the latest contents. Always with you wherever you are.

  14. GigaOM iPhone & The EDGE Question « Friday, June 29, 2007

    [...] that needs to be updated. This gives an impression of a much faster experience to the end user. Webaroo is a start-up that is doing something similar for non-iPhone portable [...]

  15. GigaOM iPhone & The EDGE Question « Friday, June 29, 2007

    [...] that needs to be updated. This gives an impression of a much faster experience to the end user. Webaroo is a start-up that is doing something similar for non-iPhone portable [...]

  16. Webaroo lets offline users search and surf the web : Alootechie Tuesday, October 2, 2007

    [...] The argument Mathur & Company make is that despite all the talk of always-on connectivity, the reality is very different. So just like you can pack your music collection to go, or carry your movies on your video iPod, why not the web, writes GigaOM. [...]

  17. GupShup, A Twitter-Like Service Gets $10 Million – GigaOM Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    [...] that it has raised $10 million in new capital from Helion Ventures and Charles River Ventures. In its original form, Webaroo — a startup co-founded by Rakesh Mathur, formerly of Junglee, and Beerud Sheth, formerly [...]

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