Octopus.com Has Its Arms on the Web

SAN FRANCISCO (05/03/2000) - You can find just about any information on the Internet, right? The trick is managing all that information. Instead of schlepping from site to site, wouldn't it be better if everything you need on a regular basis were easy to find, in a single, convenient location?

Octopus.com thinks so. And the company has launched a beta of its custom search Web site to try to supply just that.

The latest version of Octopus.com introduces the concept of "Views," which consolidate information from around the Web into customizable multipane pages.

Octopus Views can contain any kind of information you want, and you can create as many of them as you like, free of charge.

To start, you can browse through the hundreds of preconfigured Views that Octopus provides, or you can create your own View.

To create your own, you can change an existing View or start one from scratch.

Either way, creating a View is a simple matter of clicking the Edit button to add panes, and then choosing from the site's extensive content selections for new information to add to your View.

You might create a View of your stock portfolio, for example, and pick which charts and statistics you want to see. Sports fans can create a View that lets them track their favorite teams. Or, you can create a View that gives local weather and a map. The possibilities seem limitless.

Once you've saved your View, it appears under MyViews at the top of the Octopus home page, making it easy to navigate around to your different Views.

Octopus makes it easy to share Views as well. You can either publish it for other Octopus users to use or send it by e-mail to someone. Octopus lets you use your own e-mail client (Communicator, Eudora, or Outlook), or will send the e-mail for you. Either way, the recipient receives an e-mail message with a link to your View.

Octopus makes it easy enough to drop an entire Web page into a View, but what if you don't want the entire page? Octopus allows you to pick content from around the Web that you'd like to add to your Views.

This is feasible, but be forewarned: You'll need to know some HTML. When you want to insert only part of a page, you're stuck looking directly at the HTML source code. The end result will probably be quite useful, but whether it's worth the effort to go that extra step will depend on your degree of expertise and determination.

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