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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Ananova turning a few heads

By Burt Lum

A recent look at the daily newspapers revealed a curious reference.

I started noticing several printed articles from a source called Ananova. Normally, I am accustomed to seeing names like Reuters, Scripps Howard or Cox News, so this reference caught my attention.

I had always known Ananova as the animated online Web hostess that made headlines, at least in the Web community, more than two years ago. Back then, before the dot-com crash, novel ideas were a dime a dozen — and having the news delivered by an animated character sounded interesting but potentially short-lived. Well, I was wrong. Ananova seems to have survived to the extent that newspapers are citing it as a news source.

By way of a little background, Ananova started in April 2000 and is still at www.ananova.com. Ananova took on the image of a wholesome, female Briton with a striking resemblance to a youthful Julie Andrews.

I watched with initial intrigue but wondered, in the back of my mind, how long this was going to last. We're all familiar with the Internet after-bubble blues. But after two years, I've returned to find Ananova still delivering the news, but evidently stronger than ever.

Obviously, there's more to Ananova than just a pretty face. In fact, I found the Web site to be a rich news source covering a wide range of topics, particularly in Europe, as Ananova is based in Britain.

Surprisingly, the Ananova character has only minor presence and is only viewable from the Video Reports selection. Another feature of the Ananova site is the connection to a service called Orange.

Orange is a wireless service provider that provides mobile communications. They not only do basic call plans like domestic and international calls, but can also send out news via Ananova to cell-phone and PDA users. You can even have the Ananova character deliver the news to your Pocket PC. Together, the wireless network, rich news content and innovated delivery make for a compelling future worth watching. ;-)

Burt Lum is a click away at burt@brouhaha.net.