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.tel: Getting Information On the Web Without the Web

We’re always looking for an easier, more secure way of getting a hold of contact information, whether its personal or professional acquaintances. Telnic, a UK-based registry operator, launched what their developers call the "webless web" platform, opening the door to resources and open source code for third-party developers on October 15.

.tel is a new hub granting easy access to individuals and businesses from any device connected to the Internet — without HTML. Contact information is linked to a domain name system (DNS). "What we do is a fundamentally different use of DNS," says Justin Hayward, communications director at Telnic. He adds that the only IP address stored in the DNS leads to a proxy page, allowing information to be viewed through a browser. Because it doesn’t use HTML it transmits small amounts of data, which can be accessed faster, particularly helpful on mobile devices.

What .tel is providing is twofold, Hayward says. As an individual user, one can use .tel as a bin for storing contact information. The network is safe because a user can hide or encrypt information in DNS and only release it to people with designated authority. From a business perspective, .tel offers three things: a listing in global directory, search engine optimization (SEO) as it has structured information and keywords indexed by search engines like Google, and finally, while a small or large enterprise can have a presence online, the hub enhances the way customers can get in touch. Address book entries are instantly updated on the platform when a contact revises his or her account, thus, the person’s contacts never have to worry about changing individual profiles themselves.

Developers have already created plug-in applications for the iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Microsoft Outlook. With the iPhone 3G, a user can click into his or her address book or find a contact. Using the GPS function and .tel location records, one can locate a friend and give the person a call to grab a cup of coffee nearby. .tel isn’t available on the Google Android platform yet, but Hayward says the potential is there. "What we’re hoping is that developers will get fired up by this and develop a number of different things," Hayward says.

The platform will be released to business owners on December 3 and to the general public on February 3, 2009.

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