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iPod menus to speed mobile phone web browsing

bMenu turns websites into iPod-like interface

Norwegian company bMenu has launched a mobile portal called bmenu.mobi, which uses its own technology to pare down the navigation of websites to just an iPod-like hierarchical menu. The goal is to speed up downloads and reduce data downloads, according to the company.

The company has spent about three years developing a system called Automatic Menu Generator, which has been patented, according to bMenu CEO Bjørn Holte.

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Automatic Menu Generator is a smart crawler that uses artificial learning to find the structure of the menus on the site, according to Holte. It can index a new site in approximately two seconds, and when it is done analysing the page it produces a new menu file that can be shown on, for example, a mobile phone, he said.

bMenu mobile surfing

For the user it means that he or she uses between 50 percent and 80 percent less data, and it also speeds up access by a factor of five, according to Holte.

The company makes no bones about the fact that the iPod has inspired the way it transforms the navigation of websites for mobile phones. It is probably the most well-known way of navigating device interfaces, Holte said.

The mobile-portal home menu comes with two ways of navigating: a list of different categories and a field for entering a URL or a search term. There is also a button for taking one step back in the menu structure and another one to get back to the start page.

The bMenu portal is optimised for Norwegian and English. "We are now launching in Norway to get some feedback from the public," said Holte.

It also has plans to launch the portal in other parts of the world in the near future, but the details are still being ironed out, according to Holte.

The portal, which is in Norwegian, can be accessed here: http://bm02.no.bmenu.net/mobile/

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