A newcomer to Internet-based applications is unveiling a service designed to support the consumer and the small business that might be logging on through dial-up, not only the corporate broadband customer. SoftwareWow.com uses its proprietary streaming technology to stream software applications. Similar to RealPlayer or Windows Media Player, the company's Distributed Software Delivery Architecture, as the name implies, is tuned for streaming software instead of audio or video. The company foresees a wide range of potential uses for the technology, from timed demos for try-before-you-buy software, to software subscriptions, to pay-per-use services. Running your application software off the Internet instead of having it loaded locally on your PC offers numerous advantages. For example, it requires less disk space and ensures you always have the latest version, which in theory avoids incompatibility problems. Most of the many application service providers that have sprung up in the last year cater to the needs of medium- to large-size businesses. They focus on groupware applications such as scheduling or collaboration software, not to mention access to full-time, high-speed Internet connections. A demo of SoftwareWow is available now on the company's Web site. The company expects the service will be commercially available on major Web sites this summer. You visit the site and click on a listed software title to launch SoftwareWow. A small SoftwareWow Player is streamed and loaded onto your PC. The player launches the application you've requested, just as if it were installed on your hard drive. The SoftwareWow Player streams only the necessary application components to your PC, and loads additional parts and pieces as they're needed. Moreover, the company claims its technology automatically does the "technical homework." The technology first ensures that you have the right operating system and system components (such as QuickTime, DirectX, and DLLs) for the application that you've chosen. And after you're done with the application, SoftwareWow automatically cleans up after itself, removing registry settings, desktop icons, and system-level components such as fonts and DLLs that the application generated. On the delivery side, providers require streaming software servers and a software management server that coordinates software requests and usage, and balances the load on the streaming software servers. Although SoftwareWow says its architecture doesn't require software developers to modify code or rewrite applications, the company certifies software titles as compatible with the service. Currently, about 100 titles are certified, including productivity, graphics, business, games, and educational software.