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Surfing With a Crowd

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, April 20, 2000

The loneliness of the Internet surfer. Kind of funny, isn't it? It seems like you're all alone when you're visiting Web sites, even when thousands of other people may be visiting the same site. One of the most popular programs that lets you change that is called Gooey. Dowload it from Getgooey.com, and when you visit sites online, you see lists of other Gooey users who are there too. You can type messages or open chat windows. An even newer program, called Cahoots, adds voice chat to the mix... .

"For consumers and individuals, it makes the Web experience much richer because now I can work with other people to solve problems, I can work with other people to get information that I couldn't from a search engine, I can get help and assistance during the shopping process."

Cahoots President John Rizzo. It's a great idea, but it may take some finagling to get the voice chat to work. Another concept comes from the folks at Lucent's Bell Laboratories. Using sound to hear traffic on Web sites. Ben Rubin, who is working on the project... says it creates a more natural environment in cyberspace...

"You don't know whether you're in an empty space or a crowded space. And to give people that kind of feedback could make the Web a little bit of a more real place to be."

Some day, you may long for a nice, quiet, little out of the way Web site. You can find us at ThirdAge.com. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, for CBS News.