Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bold, Brave Predictions of 1994

Those of you who have read On the Way to the Web know that Knight-Ridder was pretty busy with experiments in the online world in the 1980s, beginning with its Viewtron Videotext service. As I note in the book, Viewtron was an advanced system, much like the Web today. Its advanced graphics carred news, entertainment, and a host of interactive services, including email.

In 1994, ten years after it shut down Viewtron, Knight-Ridder produced the embedded video program above. It's worth taking a look at--and wondering where the hell all these wonderful ideas went. For many reasons, neither Knight-Ridder nor its competitors "got it," and failed to follow up on the developments of the era. Even though their own spokesman says, "It may be difficult to conceptualize the idea of a digital paper, but in fact we believe that's what's going to happen."

That had to have been a minority view, because Knight-Ridder failed to forge ahead with "digital paper." Again, watch the video--you'll see devices that showed up at last week's CES.

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