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OpenDNS Aims for Consistent Web Browsing

A provider of Internet addressing services hopes to unify how you navigate the Web when using different browsers and computers.

This week, OpenDNS introduced "shortcuts" -- settings you may use to reach certain Web sites when typing in specific alphanumeric combinations in the address bar.

For instance, you can define "nyt" to bring you to the home page of The New York Times or "tech" to bring you to the site's technology section. You can define "g" to reach Google and type "g sopranos" in a browser's address bar to do a search on the television show.

Two different users can define "bank" to reach their respective online banks, or "mail" to get their primary Web-based e-mail account. OpenDNS keeps track of who's defining what.

OpenDNS provides free directory services necessary to translate a Web site's domain name into its actual numeric Internet address, so browsers can reach the site. Typically computer users get such services through their Internet service provider or corporate network; they must adjust their computer settings to use the OpenDNS service instead.

Users also must create a free account and log on to have their settings work across different browsers and computers. Otherwise, settings remain stored in a "cookie" data file, limited to the browser and the computer in which the setting was created.

Opera Software ASA's Opera browser has similar shortcuts, but settings on one don't affect other browsers or computers. Other browsers including Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer have different ways of handling what gets typed into the address bar.

David Ulevitch, OpenDNS's chief executive, said the goal behind the shortcuts was to give its 500,000 to 750,000 users a more consistent experience.

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