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Weels moves toward keyboard-less browsing

A new service presented at DemoFall gives people a way to do most content manipulation inside their browsers with only their mouse.

SAN DIEGO--It's not that today's Web browser users don't have keyboards. It's that we don't really need to use them.

That's the business case of Weels, a start-up that presented at DemoFall 09 Wednesday: that much of what we do in browsers, including sharing content between users, can be done strictly with a mouse.

The idea is that, in a browser, everything can be manipulated--moved around, copied to folders and shared--solely by being dragged and dropped with the mouse. After a simple registration, users see what amounts to a toolbar at the top of their browser and can then get information related to various kinds of data by moving that data into the appropriate place on the toolbar.

For example, say you want to get product information about a high-tech gadget from Amazon.com, you could click on the gadget from a product review site and then, with a click of the mouse, bring up a list of sites--including Amazon--and drop the copied product information onto the Amazon logo. The result? The Amazon page for that product pops right up.

Similarly, different users can set up a sharing relationship, with each user having a spot on the toolbar. Then, content can be dragged to that user's spot and it immediately appears on their screen. That can include text, photos, videos and many other items.

The service also features what's called "collages," which are basically pastiches of content that can be saved and arranged as a user wants for later investigation. Collages can also be shared between users.

For now, the company appears to be just getting off the ground, and its founders--some college and high school students--made a point of calling for investors while on stage. And it's not at all clear how they would make money off their free service. But the idea is intriguing, since it simplifies the way users live with their browsers, their keyboards, and their mice.