Firm’s Software Melds Content and Chatting


A 5-month-old Israeli company today will launch what it says is the first software that allows Internet surfers to chat with each other while viewing any Web site.

Hypernix, which is based in Tel Aviv, is giving away the “Gooey” software at its Web site, The model is part of a growing convergence of content and community.

“The Web didn’t fulfill its promise. It’s about computers being connected, not people,” said Yaron Zilberman, chief financial officer of the closely held company.


The way the software works, anyone who has it running will see two windows appear on whatever Web site he visits. One window will list the nicknames of other Gooey users who are at the site at the same time. Another window is a running chat room for Gooey members.

Hypernix’s founders said they were inspired after visiting an online art exhibition and were frustrated in their attempts to talk to other attendees about what they were watching.

“Until now, the Web has been either about content or about chatting,” Zilberman said. “It’s like having to leave a restaurant in order to have a conversation, or having to go to a bar alone.”

The move follows last month’s release of similar software by an unrelated company, Redwood City, Calif.-based Third Voice Inc. That software provides a message board rather than a chat room, allowing users to leave comments at any Web site that are then visible to future visitors who also have Third Voice software.

Third Voice “conversations” are more lasting, but static. Gooey users could travel together to other sites and continue private, one-on-one or group chats as they go.

“What’s important about it is that the Web has been starting to look like traditional media,” said Third Voice Vice President Leo Jolicoeur. “When you meld together the author’s view of the world with another person’s, it becomes a much richer experience.”

Hypernix plans to make money through animated advertising in a small window next to the chat window, a strategy that might not prove to be easy.

“There’s getting to be a lot of ad space and clutter,” said Clay Ryder, chief analyst at Zona Research in Redwood City. “You’re going to be using windows that include ads, as you’re visiting a site that has its own ads, and let’s say you’re using a free computer--that has ads running on a quarter of the screen.”

“We call this ‘Yet Another Advertising-Supported Business Model,’ ” Ryder said. “We’ll see.”