The World Wide Web and Hyper-G

Hyper-G offers many advantages over today's most popular Internet information source, the World Wide Web. From the user's perspective reliability, speed, flexibility, ease of use and security are all enhanced.


Speed Improvements

When a user wants to see a document, such as a news article, chart or picture, the request must first pass through a nearby computer called a Hyper-G server. Hyper-G servers fetch remote documents over their high-speed Internet links and store them before they pass them to local users. The result is that Hyper-G is able to deliver information to the user much more quickly. This is especially helpful if the remote document is a popular one, since the server only has to retreive each document only once for all users.

In contrast, WWW users must have access to a caching proxy if they wish to retreive information. Very few Internet service providers today offer such a service. Such servers have their limitations, as we shall see.

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Automatic Updates of "Dead" or Moved Hyperlinks

Hyper-G is able to store its documents far more efficiently than the caching WWW proxy because it is a true distributed database of information. When a document is deleted, changed, or renamed on a server, all other Hyper-G servers that reference that document can be informed. This has the additional benefit of eliminating "dead" or moved links to information. Experienced WWW users know that finding references to documents that no longer exist can be quite frustrating. Hyper-G automatically cleans up all dead links so that the user no longer has to search again for the same piece of information.

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Backward Compatibility with other Information Systems

Hyper-G is designed to replace the WWW, but is also able to work with it. Current users of the WWW can access information from Hyper-G servers. This means that if you use a WWW browser such as Netscape, Mosaic or Lynx you can still use Hyper-G. The same is true of users of the Gopher information system. These users will not, however be able to use many of the more advanced features of Hyper-G.

Similarly, Hyper-G users who use the Harmony (for Unix) or Amadeus (for Microsoft Windows) Hyper-G clients can access WWW, Gopher and WAIS information.

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User Feedback and Uploading of Documents

Hyper-G allows for true interactivity, unlike the WWW. Hyper-G servers are designed to accept incoming documents so that the users of the system are actually providing the content. For instance, a corporation's customers can exchange ideas right on the company's Hyper-G server. Users could exchange software, databases, spreadsheet files or any other type of information.

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Improved Security

In order to facilitate the interactive features of Hyper-G, it includes a new level of security unparalleled in other popular information systems. As with the WWW, Hyper-G allows "anonymous" users to retreive information. But Hyper-G goes a step further and adds control over security similar to that found in the Unix operating system. Whole areas of the server can be hidden from the general public but made available to those users who have been authorized by the Hyper-G administrator.

A company could set up an information system that allows the general public to see information on sales and services as well as company background. Inside the company, however, more information could be distributed to authorized users, such as training information, sales figures and work flow diagrams.

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Multimedia Documents with Hyperlinks

The WWW allows information providers to add hypertext links to text documents as well as static pictures and diagrams. Hyper-G takes this a step further and allows users and administrators to add hypertext links to video, sound, PostScript files and 3-D scenes. A user could be watching a video of news footage and click on the people pictured in it in order to find out more information about them.

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Automatic Indexing and Improved Search Interface

Finding the information you are looking for on the Internet can be quite a chore. Dozens of WWW "search engines" have been started just to help users keep track of it all. Even if you find the WWW server you are looking for, there is still the possiblity that you will have to point and click through dozens of pages of information in order to find the page you need. Even if the administrators of the WWW site are able to provide a search function on their server, you still have to learn to use the syntax and quirks of how their index works.

Hyper-G eliminates this problem by building a search mechanism into the server and allowing the user to access it from any point. Searches can be done on a single server or across multiple Hyper-G servers. A user will see the same powerful built-in search interface every time he or she decides to do a search.

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Automatic Location Mapping

Have you ever been lost in hyperspace? This happen when you follow hyperlinks to get to more detailed information, only to find yourself repeatedly looking at the same few Web pages, or even worse, forgetting where you started. Hyper-G solves this problem by presenting you an overview of all the information that you can reach, shown as an easy to understand map. Hyper-G can even show you a 3-D landscape of information, with "cities" and "buildings" representing sources of information.

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