Red Panda is a platform, delivered through a Firefox extension, which redefines the way users interact with the web.
Since the birth of Mosaic some 15 years ago the way users access the Internet has not changed much. Despite many more documents and a handful of new languages and protocols, fundamentally user-internet interaction has stayed the same: the user seeks out and asks for a document, which is fetched by a browser and opened up into a window.
Red Panda is a radically different approach. At the heart of Red Panda lies a very fast NPL analyzer which processes web pages on-the-fly. This in turn enables Red Panda, independently, to single out relevant information from everywhere on the net and continuously refine and enrich the user's options.
Today's wealth of sources presents us the problem of information overload. Even though more than 60% of users regularly access the web to get their news, only a few do so through an RSS reader or even a start-page such as iGoogle, NetVibes or PageFlakes. Even Google, despite having nearly 1 billion users, could not convince more than 10-20 million users to adopt their start-page software.
The first reason for this lack of interest is quite simple. With so many sources to choose between during customization, the sheer number of options becomes a hindrance. It is tedious for the user to configure a reader or start-page to reflect all of his interests or all of his favorite news sources. The second reason is more subtle; even if this idea of configuration is attractive to savvy users, updating interests remains a chore.
Throughout the day, week and month users' interests shift unpredictably, requiring constant revision to sources and feeds. Soon users are facing hundreds of articles updating every twenty minutes or so with many of no interest to them at all. Further, new micro-blogging technologies such as Twitter and Facebook increase information flow and density as they update every few seconds or so.
Reconciling this information overload requires a three-face solution: universality (reaching all sources), immediacy (consistent updating) and finally accuracy (results pertaining to the current interests of the users). Red Panda has been designed specifically to address all these requirements, and in so doing succeeds as a true democratized news reader.
When using Firefox with Red Panda's add-on, a sidebar displays additional information (such as News, Blogs, Tweets and Diggs) directly related to the content of the current main page. A simple click on those sidebar links opens the source instantly without leaving the page the user is on. As an example, when browsing a page in a company website, Red Panda automatically displays news related to both the company itself and to that specific page within the website through links users can select at their own convenience.
And here lies Red Panda's power: it reverses the typical Internet paradigm by taking the user's focus and expanding it out wide.
Red Panda can be downloaded here (English version only)