Many One: Launching a visual browser & so much more

Joe Firmage’s ManyOne is getting ready to launch its first browser and portal. I met some of these folks a few months ago, and am fascinated with their plans–they hope to create affinity-branded portals in partnership with mission driven nonprofits (National Geographic would be a great example), have the partner resell the content, access and tools to their members, and build a rich, discovery-oriented service using a graphical browser based on Mozilla’s Open Source code and the taxonomy of the Open Directory Project, another open source effort.
Think PBS meets Knowledge Adventure (remember those amazing dinosaur CD,s etc?) meets next generation, high-bandwidth browser.
To make this work. Firmage has done some acquisitions, notably bringing aboard Tony Parisi, one of the developers of VMRL (I saw him and Mark Pesce launch VMRL at W3 in 1994 in Chicago).This will give him the capability to really think about building a broadband-focused visual browser, if you will, plus some great authoring tools.
The challenge for these guys, who are heavily scientific and technical for the most part, will be to remember that the audiences they want their partners to sell to are all of us: demanding, impatient consumers who have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to trying something new, good cause or not. That’s a problem than can easily be surmounted with the right team–Firmage has some great people in place and no doubt will add more as needed.
This one is on my watchlist.
(Via Dave Winer.)