A startup this week leapt into the crowded field of small developers that are creating content delivery systems.
inCommon LLC released a beta version of Downtown, a free content delivery system that combines information push technologies as well as offline reading, local caching of pages and World Wide Web "accelerating" technology.
Set to be officially released early next year, Downtown differs slightly from other content delivery services in that it enables users to subscribe to any Web site rather than predefined channels only.
As a result, users can select any Web site and Downtown will automatically poll it for updates or changes, grab the changes, bring them back, and automatically cache the pages.
In addition, Downtown provides channels where content publishers can stream data directly to the user. Some of the first content publishers supporting Downtown include USA Today, The New York Times, Excite Inc. and The Motley Fool Inc.
Downtown's user interface is a tool bar that can be located anywhere on a user's desktop. Content continually flows to the user, unless he or she is browsing the Web, in which case Downtown suspends delivery until the session is over.
The beta version of Downtown can be downloaded from www.incommon.com. inCommon is based in San Mateo, Calif.