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October 7, 1998

CENTRAAL TOUTS LARGE ALTAVISTA DEAL, SUBMITS TO IETF

By CBR Staff Writer

Centraal Corp, purveyor of the Real Names system of natural language mappings to domain names, says it will announce an extension of its deal with Compaq Computer Corp’s AltaVista unit next month that will double the number of resolutions per day it currently does. RealNames enables users to enter company names, brand names and trademarks into the URL line of browser and reach the relevant web page, even if it is deep inside the web site. A resolution is when a user uses the RealNames service to take it to a web site. The company was promising a lot more at a press conference at Fall Internet World yesterday that we will document later this week. It is also submitting proposals to two internet standards organizations in the hope of establishing its system as the de facto way of using natural language to reach web sites. The Palo Alto start-up has submitted documents to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and plans to do the same to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). An alternative plan has also arrived at the IETF recently from Network Solutions Inc, which Centraal says it will work to incorporate with its own. Netscape Communications Corp Smart Browsing and Netword’s eponymous technology perform much the same task as RealNames, but in different ways. Centraal naturally says both of them are inferior to its technology. The company has also formed a technical advisory committee to help it in its standards work and wheeled out Larry Masinter, chair of the HTTP and the former chair of the URI (Uniform Resource Identifiers) working groups at the IETF as its first member. The URI group is now closed, but Centraal’s technology is directly relevant to that work To pay the bills, Masinter is also a principal scientist at Xerox Parc.

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