March 12, 1997 3:06 PM ET

PointCast pushes brave new world of 'Connections'
By Michael Fitzgerald, Special to PC Week

  LOS ANGELES -- PointCast Inc. today opened its pioneering broadcast network to the entire Web through a program called PointCast Connections.

The move means that anyone, right down to proverbial Joe Websurfer, can broadcast content via the PointCast network.

In a presentation here at Internet World, PointCast President and CEO Chris Hassett said, "I want you to look up at your screen and get something relevant."

Hassett was quick to add that the move doesn't mean PointCast users will be bombarded with content they don't want. Rather, "let's say you want to get information to your softball team. Now you can just broadcast it through PointCast," he said.

Hassett said PointCast's performance won't be affected because content will be routed through a connection server set up using Microsoft Corp.'s channel definition format technology. (See story, "Microsoft forms 'push' alliance.")

"Content doesn't pass directly through our server," he said.

The goal of PointCast Connections is to give Web viewers a reason to keep using PointCast and to expand its reach, Hassett said.

Connections will be a significant new feature in PointCast 2.0, a beta version of which is due out in April. A third-party partner will control the rating of content.

To one observer, PointCast Connections was a step away from the Web.

"This is OK, but it's not a Web thing," said Daniel Dern, author of the Internet Guide for New Users. "It's narrow-casting in HTML."

PointCast is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

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