What: Redmond-based InfoFlows Who: Steve Stone An Internet pioneer: Stone has been looking at the Web's infrastructure for decades, including...

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Redmond-based InfoFlows

Steve Stone

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An Internet pioneer:
Stone has been looking at the Web’s infrastructure for decades, including as general manager of Spyglass, a company in Champaign, Ill., that licensed Web browser technology to Microsoft in 1995. Stone led the commercial development of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ Mosaic, which became the basis for Internet Explorer.

History with Microsoft:
Stone worked for Microsoft from 1996 to 2004. He was a founder and a general manager of the eMerging Technology Group and ran the team developing electronic book tools. He left to start InfoFlows.

The challenge:
Each year, Stone said, more than 2 trillion pieces of valuable information are created, including photographs, songs, e-mail and other documents. “In the U.S. alone, information workers spend up to 30 percent of their time looking for this information, costing the economy $5.4 trillion in lost productivity,” he said. Computers could deal with the information better if the pieces had more context and more ability to be read by machines.

The idea:
Stone is again scrutinizing the backbone of the Internet. InfoFlows has created the Handle System, which can assign an identifying number to each of those pieces.

Making connections:
Once the pieces get their identity, they can interact with each other over the Internet in new ways. Photos, documents or Web sites could make intelligent connections to each other and become more enmeshed with the rest of the Internet. “If you can imagine the power of that and what will follow, it’s tremendously exciting,” Stone said.

The not-so-deep Web:
The system could open up parts of the so-called deep Web, which includes silos of information not indexed by Web-based search engines. As the Internet continues to expand, it will need to do a better job identifying and cross-referencing pieces of information, he said.

No funding yet:
Stone is funding InfoFlows himself. The company already has customers and doesn’t have any debt, and is running on software and hardware donations from Microsoft and Intel.

“The ideas and technologies that I am involved with today are aimed at creating tomorrow’s Internet.”

— Kim Peterson