Trying to search the internet without web access used to be like taking a surfboard to Switzerland to catch some waves: foolish and futile.
Some new software called Webaroo, though, is now offering the impossible – web surfing on your laptop or smartphone, only offline.
At this point you’ve probably got three questions: how, how and how? The key to Webaroo is that, rather than forcing you to write off 30 years and download the whole web, its servers have selected high quality pages and grouped them into ‘web packs’, which take up a fraction of the memory.
All you do is download the software for free from Webaroo’s site onto your laptop, PDA or smartphone and pick out web packs to download.
You could, for example, get a London pack, and have all the net’s useful info on the capital’s maps, hotels and pet shops stored on your memory card.
Web pages are identical to how they appear online, and you can pick out favourite sites to download too. Although ‘web packs’ vary in size, Webaroo recommends you have around 1GB free storage to get a decent chunk of the web.
The big drawback, of course, is that your static snapshots of the web won’t display live information or get updated – you have to wait until you’ve got a web connection again to reflect the web version.
It’s also not yet Mac compatible, with the Beta version 1.0 requiring a PC with Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
Still, it looks like a good alternative to costly mobile web surfing, particularly while we wait for the Wi-Fi cloud to spread outside of major cities. For more info on Webaroo, go to its site here.