Macromedia today introduces a software technology, Shockwave, that it promises will revolutionize the Internet by making animation ubiquitous on Web sites.
"In one day, Macromedia will change the face of the Web," promises David Lasner, director of product management.
Hype, hype-not exactly shocking news on the 'Net. But there's also some truth: Macromedia will make it far easier for marketers and media to add animation and audio to static Web sites.
Macromedia is making two moves today at the WebInnovation conference in San Francisco: It is adding a feature to Director, its multimedia authoring tool, making it simple for content developed with Director to be moved to the Internet. And it is releasing a free Web browser add-on, dubbed Shockwave, allowing PC users to access animated home pages.
Shockwave will work with Netscape Communications Corp.'s Netscape Navigator 2.0, which is being released today in a new beta test version.
Netscape Navigator 2.0 is expected to be officially released in the next month as the new Internet browser standard, giving PC users access to jazzed up home pages created with new Web software tools, including Director and Sun Microsystems' Java.
A number of Web site operators will add animation in coming weeks using Macromedia's tools. These include Conde Nast, Time Warner's Pathfinder, Yahoo and MTV. Ad Age's site (http://www.AdAge.com) also is adding the feature. All these sites will be accessible through Macromedia (http://www.macromedia.com).
As animation and audio twists become standard on home pages, site developers will have to choose which tools to use.
Josh Bernoff, analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., says Java may have the greatest long-term implications for the Internet because of its interactive, multimedia potential.
But Macromedia's alliances with technology companies and its clout in multimedia tools "puts them in a strong position to be a standard for animation on the Internet," Mr. Bernoff said. "Revolutionary? We'll see."