10. May 2012–
It’s hard to imagine a better way to browse the Internet, but the makers of Farfromhomepage have. They call it "creative browsing" - a term coined by the Berlin team to define the idea of taking snippets of web content, from YouTube videos and audio clips to articles, and making a fully browsable presentation. “Our biggest mission is to create a movie feeling from the net. Viewers can either interact with it or sit-back, or you can tell the story,” explains Swiss co-founder and ex-drama director Manuel Scheidegger.
Not farfrom launching
Together with Bavarian-born Janosch Asen as chief architect, the pair initially planned to build a communication agency with a spotlight on digital storytelling back in 2010. However, scant software turned the idea into an Internet start-up and ‘ta-daa’ Farfromhomepage was established in September last year.
Still in closed-beta, Farfromhomepage’s creative professionals recently bolstered its business cred with new CFO Frank Namyslik – in time for an expected seed round by July. The website’s also on track to launching in open beta by the end of the year. “About 700 test users are working with it,” says Scheidegger, “right now we just tell our users: stay tuned, play and wait for the next version, it'll be great.”
The website walk-through
“It’s a new dimension to Internet surfing,” says Scheidegger. Farfromhomepage provides a tool called Guido - to make clippings from web pages and import videos and sound clips to be assembled on a timeline. It’s a bit like video-editing with the end product - a fusion of content shared as a ‘tour’ for others to play back in their browsers. Users or "authors” can follow and share any tour on farfromhomepage. To be an author, users currently have to sign-up to the platform before they can become an active member.
The website’s free-to-use with fixed templates to allow anyone to create a "tour". A paid-for premium version is on its way which will enable users to embed tours on their website as well as use flexible templates. Finally, there's a pro-studio version to be made available to commercial users. “A company like Easyjet could load a ‘tour’ onto their webpage. Advertising agencies and film studios in Berlin have already expressed interest in using it once it becomes available,” says Scheidegger.
The user interface is clean and eye-catching. Initially, the tools can take a little getting used to, but once you’ve had a good play-around with creating a "tour" and watch the demos – it feels relatively straight-forward and leaves you yearning for additional options with its free-model, like a hand-drawing tool. There are certainly a lot of possibilities with Farfromhomepage’s curated Internet experience and it feels much like an interactive Powerpoint presentation. If you cut-out VentureVillage’s video page for example, and load it onto a timeline, you continue to see that section in real-time and can interact with it in the same way. There are a lot of opportunities here for research-based professions, how-to creators, product-demos and arts organisations – to name a few.