Xerox, Microsoft To Offer Virtual Books

Researchers at Microsoft Corp.
announced Tuesday that they have licensed technology from Xerox Corp. which it will use in a new technology that will make books viewable online.

WebBooks is an application designed to create virtual pages in 3-D that
Internet users can handle as if they were part of a real book. The WebBooks
are displayed in a three-dimensional workspace, and
can be easily manipulated, stored and retrieved, Microsoft said.

Under terms of Tuesday’s agreement, Microsoft will enlist Xerox’s
WebForager, a technology designed to allow Internet users to leaf through the virtual pages. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“As a new technology, WebForager could significantly influence the future of
graphical user interfaces,” said Dan Ling, director of Microsoft Research.
“We plan to use the technology in combination with Microsoft’s current 3-D
user interface research.”

John Seely Brown, Xerox’s chief scientist, said the Web is the perfect place
to introduce virtual books.

“The Web is built on a document metaphor and WebForager honors the manner in
which humans are most comfortable dealing with documents and sharing what
they know — pages and books — with
underlying technology that is so complex it offers the elegance of intuitive
simplicity,” he said.

News Around the Web