Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.
Every week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views. Well, actually six questions, since we also ask the start-up to who he or she is passing the mic to.
This week we’re interviewing Fabrice Levy, founder of Web2Wave. This service proposes ‘a new way to surf the Internet’, this would be a cover flow browsing experience. And although the design of the site is sooo nineties, it could be a handy service for people who don’t use Mac’s Leopard (yet). And when you think about it: why not integrate cover flow in the most important application of your computer? If only Levy would hire a designer, so that the design matches the new approach on surfing.
How did you come up with the idea of Web2Wave?
“The idea came up when I was planning holidays using multiple web sites (book hotel, plane, rent a car…) and I thought it would be great if I could have all these sites in a single window to quickly switch from one to an other and moreover to store all this context for the next time I will have to plan holidays.
It’s easier to find what you’re looking for by flipping through pictures than by scanning a list of text entries. Cover Flow-style interfaces provide an easy and fun way to sort through large volumes of information and find the piece you want at any given time.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“Our biggest challenge was related to security issues, at the beginning we thought Surflets (iframes) could dynamically display the current URL address while surfing on it, however for security reasons (same origin policy) it’s actually impossible so far.
The philosophy of the same origin policy is simple: it is not safe to trust content loaded from any websites. The same origin policy prevents document or script loaded from one origin from getting or setting properties of a document from a different origin. We’ve thought of many solutions to “overcome” this restriction while keeping the same level of security for the end users (for instance by signing the script)…. but without any success.
My advice for other start-ups who face challenges like this is to be patient. Solving problems is gonna take a lot of time.”
Can you describe the French start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“We all think that the best place to create a startup is Silicon Valley, and all talents are there and not in Europe. However, France is a good place regarding the number of graduates in Science and technology. But we have another problem, a cultural problem. Failure is not culturally accepted in France, if we want more graduates to create innovative start-up we need to accept there will be many flops.
However working in France does have its advantages. We have a different way of thinking which is sometimes successful, think of Netvibes for example.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“We all have a ton of bookmarks to access your favorite web sites. Most people use the built-in features of Internet Explorer or Firefox for keeping track of their favorite web sites. It works well, but as most people know, the list can become quite long and unmanageable. On this field, Web2Wave takes advantage of the shift toward intuitive user interface and streamlines web surfing like never before.”
You can make up this question yourself!
“What does your service add?
Web2Wave offers web surfers many innovative functionalities such as:
- Store, find and organize all your favorite web content into live surflets,
- Organize all your surflets within customized tabs,
- Rummage through your favorite sites at your leisure through a 3D cover flow of all your surflet,
- Access to your web navigation environment from everywhere.”
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