Pointcast Push News and Information Project

Pointcast Push News and Information Project

Webmaster for Pointcast Canada’s websites and screen saver news app.

Webmaster for Pointcast Canada’s English and French websites. PointCast was a screensaver that displayed news and other information, delivered live over the Internet.

About the PointCast Network

The company's initial product amounted to a screensaver that displayed news and other information, delivered live over the Internet. The PointCast Network used push technology, which was a hot concept at the time, and received enormous press coverage when it launched in beta form on February 13, 1996.

The product did not perform as well as expected, often mistakenly believed to be because its traffic burdened corporate networks with excessive bandwidth use, and was banned in many places.

Pointcast software demanded more bandwidth than the home dial-up Internet connections of the day could provide, and people objected to the large number of advertisements that were pushed over the service as well. Pointcast offered corporations a proxy server that would dramatically reduce the bandwidth used. But even this didn't help save PointCast.

A more likely reason than bandwidth was the increasing popularity of "portal websites". When PointCast first started Yahoo offered little more than a hierarchical structure on the internet (broken down by subject much like DMOZ ) but was soon to introduce the portal which was customizable and offered a much more customizable way to read the news.

Project Dates

1995 - 1997

Push Technology

Published: March 1998
Run time: 26:46:00

As the Internet evolved, the big buzzword became "push", as in push information down to you and not wait for you pull it up. This video looks at several approaches to push technology including Castanet, PointCast, BackWeb, Netscape Netcaster, and Incisa. Guests include Marimba President and CEO Kim Polese. Originally broadcast in 1997.