capsule review

RocketOn Beta

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder RocketOn Beta

What's more fun the cruising the Web? How about cruising the Web with a cute avatar of yourself appearing on every page, allowing you to talk to other cute avatars--at least if they're using this program? I'd answer "Almost anything," but I'm not the target audience of this beta program, which is aimed squarely at the younger segments of "Generation Net," the kind that views a world without the Internet they way us older folks viewed a world without television.

RocketOn provides a sort of "layer" between you and any Web site you visit. On this layer, your avatar--invariably good looking in a quirky and vaguely hip sort of way--can walk, perform a few emotes, and chat (in speech bubbles) with other RocketOn users, if you can find them. I never saw any except those on the main RocketOn site, but I did see their vapor trails--"wormholes" that lead to pages other RocketOn users have visited. This was actually one of the most interesting parts of the program--if I go to a site I enjoy, say,, I could "follow" other people who like that site to other sites, and they might be ones I'd be interested in. Fortunately, none on this particular trail were porn, virus, or scam sites.

On the main site, there are games to play, which you can invite other people to join in on. There are also, supposedly, "quests" you can perform, which will earn you points, which you can then use to enhance your avatar, buying new, cooler, costumes and hairstyles. .

Your avatar can walk around the page, which has sometimes caused me trouble clicking links--my avatar walks to them, instead. In theory, you can use this software to "get together" in various places online, such as all "gathering" to watch a YouTube video and then comment on it. It could even be used to create a virtual meeting place for business, though I think very few professionals want to "Dress up" as a skateboarder to discuss the latest quarterly figures, and those who do, would likely do it in Second Life.

Overall, I must confess, I'm not sure entirely what the point of RocketOn is, or what it does that other solutions don't do better--but as I note, I think I'm about 30 years too old to be the target audience. I have a young cousin who is absolutely hooked on very similar virtual worlds, and I suspect that if he could bring such worlds to any Web site he visited, he'd be thrilled.

Whereas RocketOn contains no spyware per se, it must, by its very nature, monitor what Web sites you visit and where you go. Even though the privacy policy states no identifiable information will be retained, I really don't want some faux-punk avatar following me like a duckling all across the Internet.

Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can automatically install the file into your Firefox browser.

--Ian Harac

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder RocketOn Beta

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