Here's how it works. You download the Third Voice software from its web site, no charge, and install it. The program acts as a part of your browser: When it's running, it appears as an extra frame on the left-hand side of the browser window. Whenever you visit a web page, if people have written responses to that page, a list of posts appears in the window. Click on an item from the list and what looks like a yellow sticky pops up on top of the web page, with the full text of the post in it. MORE >>
First came Usenet. Its newsgroups were messy, irreverent and uncouth, but they were plenty interactive. Then came the Web, which was clean and commercial, but it forced the reader to sit and listen nicely without talking back. Third Voice Inc. is trying to change that, with a new product that allows anybody who wants to to add a message to any web page. The results are plenty interactive –- and messy.