Table: Transcending the WWW
Some promising applications that may give birth to the next generation of Net highfliers:
By 2002, some 225 million people will use wireless services that bypass today's Web, up from 40 million last year, says eTForecasts. To be successful, the services must be tailored for small devices that dish up info any place, at any time.
Popularized by the Napster music-sharing service, P2P lets PCs communicate with one another directly via the Net. To generate fees, startups are selling P2P software that lets people exchange data and better collaborate on projects.
E-mail is the most popular non-Web use of the Net. Now, instant messaging--e-mail that's like chatting--is the rage. IM is being developed for interactive TV and handhelds. But no one has figured out yet how to make money off of it.
Computers are communicating with less human help. eBay's proxy bidding feature lets users place a maximum offer and the auction site automatically bids for them. Or a company could have a computer order goods when inventories dip.