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Finding what's new

Hot on the Web

This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on March 23, 2001
(Issue 1912, What's New on the Web)

Shat's new on the Web? Who knows? With a guesstimated 5 billion web pages now online (not counting dynamically generated Web pages, such as those created by search engines to show your results), the Web is suffering from a severe case of information bloat. Finding a web page with the information you're looking for is now rarely a problem – narrowing that list from 25,000 down to a more manageable 150 – now that's a challenge.

And keeping up with what's new? Good luck ...

What's New & Cool

Perhaps it was inevitable, what with the AOL takeover of Netscape – and then merger of AOL and Time-Warner, but the end of Netscape's What's New & Cool page is still sad. Oh, the page itself is still there – but instead of a lively set of links to what's truly new and cool on the Web, it's now a set of slick ads for those businesses that can afford to be on the New & Cool page.

From at least Netscape 2.0 on, Netscape's web site included a New & Cool page. And for a long time, it was the best place to go to find sites where you could see the current online state of the art.

While there are plenty of other pages linking to new and interesting sites, we'll probably never again see the kind of centralized hub that Netscape's New & Cool page used to be. I remember seeing my first web cam page off of here – some guy's fish tank in New Jersey, as I remember – probably back in 1995 or so. In later years, links from this page introduced me to my first Shockwave games, first pages with JavaScript, and first cascading stylesheets. And while you can always follow the technical state of the art from the World Wide Web Consortium pages, it was from Netscape's New & Cool page that you'd find the first creative and/or commercial applications of the W3's technological innovations, as well as those of the latest browser plug-ins.

Now it's just another two-bit commerce portal, trying to make Steve Case a few more bucks ...

Yahoo! – What's New

If not as comprehensive as Netscape's previous incarnation of What's New & Cool, Yahoo's own daily and weekly picks are still a fairly good look at what's coming up on our online horizon. Like the Netscape of old, Yahoo has a staff to sift through all the new sites coming online and pick out the ones most worthy of our attention. Yahoo's not as technology-oriented as Netscape was, and instead focuses more on informative content.

This new music site was one of Yahoo's picks of the week, and is evidence of a focus on substance over glitter. Decidedly low-tech, this spanking-new music site is published by Mojo Magazine, a British outfit that in eight years has managed to avoid either selling out or becoming bored, both of which combined to doom not only Rolling Stone, but nearly every pseudo-hip little trendy magazine that has followed in the States touting itself as the new Rolling Stone. The list of artists covered here isn't all that long nor deep yet, but the staff's taste is impeccable, the writing informative and fun. For finding quick ratings on CDs by your favorite artist, this ought to be the first place you try.