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SideImpact: a contextual, ride-along search engine

familiarity and extensibility: as a pop-up, the surf-along can appear to be a very light-weight application; an added tool while the user interacts with their familiar internet browser. In reality, the pop-up is a full-power application, allowing researchers and developers to escape the limitations of applet programming. Researchers can couple the power of full application capabilities with an interface to information streaming from the user's internet browser.
info-mediary capabilities: Side Impact has the ability to modify both its interface and the data being presented based on context (e.g. what the user has been doing) and content (the data streaming in from the internet). For example, it might pop up a summary window and present a running summary of a particular page. That summary might be different, based on what the user has been doing.
privacy, security, reliability, access, installation, customization: Side Impact is a client-side application. There is no required connection to a host or risky data storage on a remote server. Development is easier, since you are writing an application that users download and run locally. You don't have to deal with server-side reliability, bandwidth or up-time restrictions.
interaction with server-side applications: of course, there is no restriction preventing Side Impact from interacting with server-side applications. Client-server relationships can be very potent (e.g. the server collecting knowledge about general usage patterns for a site; the client collecting a specific individual's usage patterns; an integration of the patterns to help present the right data).
non-web integration: Side Impact has access to other streams of information such as email, application usage patterns. These are exciting research opportunities by themselves, and the integration with each other is a really interesting opportunity for sensemaking and knowledge management.
collaborative effects: while Side Impact is targeted as a stand-alone application on a client's local machine, it can create data (maps) that can be shared, and open "collaborative channels" to allow direct access to multiple users.
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