DNS startup OpenDNS is looking to replace many of the bookmarks and browser add-ons currently used to navigate around the Internet with a shortcut system tied direct to its free DNS services.
The feature, called "shortcuts" and introduced on Monday, allows users to set up remotely stored words or sets of characters that take them directly to anywhere on the Internet.
The shortcuts can be set up to launch web applications or automatically enter complex sets of parameters, such as launching an AOL Instant Messenger conversation with a particular user using a particular phrase.
Web browsers often have add-ons that can provide similar features, but such add-ons differ from browser to browser. The OpenDNS system works from any browser set up to use OpenDNS, as long as the user has created an account.
"People have been trained to get around the Internet using add-ons and search engines, even when they know exactly where they want to go. That's because the address bar has failed people," said OpenDNS chief executive David Ulevitch, in a statement.
System administrators can set up shortcuts for an entire network, so that the word "help", for example, could take any user to the internal helpdesk website. The network shortcuts can be overriden by personal shortcuts, OpenDNS said.
OpenDNS offers an alternative to ISPs' default domain name lookup services, promising faster web surfing and anti-fraud services, as well as tweaks such as spelling correction.
The company fuels its anti-fraud whitelist from various sources, including a collaborative project started last year called PhishTank. The company was founded in July of last year, and is supported by opt-in advertising on a page that is displayed when a spelling mistake is corrected.
While the company's centralised DNS model allows it to offer advanced DNS services, it also takes away the redundancy provided by the standard DNS system, which relies on servers scattered around the world.
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