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97.03.26
Search Voyeur

What are all those intrepid web searchers looking for? The answer won't surprise you.

97.03.19
With Intent to Annoy

Nothing on this site is as annoying as the legislation that spawned it.

97.03.12
Art and Architecture

A painter named Barrie has created a site that puts the "space" back into "cyberspace."

97.03.05
The Dark Side

George Lucas brought filmmaking into the digital age. His marketing department has brought Star Wars to the Web.

97.02.26
The Beaten Path

Traveling to the planet's out-of-the-way places is becoming a less lonely business.

97.02.19
Infinity and Beyond

An online en-cyclo-paedia reveals knowledge to be both circular and potentially infinite.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.

Sony.com April 9, 1997

E veryone, it seems, is getting into the "content" business these days. Sony first tried it six years ago when it started selling CDs. (To sell more CD players, perhaps? One can only wonder.) With its newly relaunched site Sony has outdone itself, creating a multimedia destination for consumers who have just bought one of the spiffy new charcoal-grey Sony PCs.

The new Sony.com resembles television more than it does most other Web sites. With its vibrant yet soothing colors, it succeeds more consistently than the wildly-hyped PointCast and MSN, which with their constant barrage of full-screen animation don't so much ape TV as unintentionally parody it.

The site is divided into two halves. As before, you can get information on your Sony VCR's warranty, or find out which Sony picture won the Oscar for best cinematography in a children's foreign animated short, but the real action is over in "The Station," Sony's answer to AOL, complete with chat, interactive game shows (tip: disable your sound if you try "Jeopardy" at the office), soap-opera discussion, and a "safe place" for kids. The content is decidedly mass-market -- the products on the market being Sony's -- but the breadth is impressive, especially for a company whose Web site for the last two years consisted of nondescript white pages.

There are, however, problems. Ever tried to fit television through a modem? It can't be done. The extra browser windows popping up all over the screen aren't as much of a distraction as the glacial pace, sometimes slow enough to make you forget why you dropped by in the first place.

Still, once the bandwidth arrives (in the year 2008, or thereabouts) Sony.com will be a cool virtual playground. That is, until they start charging.

—Eric Westby


Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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