I just ran across this article that talks about what Blake Ross (one of the Firefox guys) is up to next. It actually sounds similar to some of the ideas I have been playing around with:
“Right now, people want to shuffle around content,” he says, “but the world’s fused together by a collection of hacks.” Something that should be simple, say, getting photos from a digital camera onto the Web, is a Sisyphean task for most people. “Step back and ask, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’” Ross says.
The article describes his new project, Parakey. It seems to be an easier way to share information online — a kind of web OS that will be seamlessly linked to your desktop. There is a client the runs on your machine, and it keeps track of all kinds of information: photos, emails, etc. You can access the information through a web interface, and easily share it with other people. At least that’s the impression I get.
This touches on one of my main complaints about the current software world: we have all these specialized applications for dealing with different kinds of information, with incompatible data models and inconsistent features. It sounds like Parakey is taking the “one app to rule them all” approach, and I think any solution that requires people to switch away from Flickr, Gmail, and MySpace to some other half-baked equivalents is not going to be successful. I hope I’m wrong about Parakey though.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting an article that’s a bit more clear about my ideas: what I think is broken about today’s software, and how I think we might fix it.