Saturday, 12 June 2010

The best things in life are shared

Over the past few years the number of web-enabled gadgets around us seems to have exploded. The computer in the spare room is now perhaps the least-favoured method of going online, having been supplanted by laptops, iPods, smart phones, and now slate computers.

File sharing and "cloud storage" have emerged as convenient ways of sharing files between computers and devices, but what about the data that the apps use? Wouldn't it make great sense to combine some of the app data into centralised silos?

I'll give two examples: a shared browser history and a shared dictionary.

I can browse the web on various devices and computers, but each browser maintains it's own web history; the list of sites that I visit. Wouldn't it be cool if I could register the same web history account on each browser I use, which is then updated whenever I visit a web site from any browser.

Google Web History is a great service, but could be much more tightly integrated into the browser.

Here's another example: a shared dictionary of custom words. Pretty much every device I use allows text editing, but of course the spell checkers all use an internal dictionary. Wouldn't it be cool if this dictionary could be provided by a web site/service, which has a central list of my custom words, which knows where I live and where I'm travelling, and can provide place names to the spell-checker.

With the pace of online evolution I expect that by the time I submit this post one of these examples will emerge into the World as a fully-fledged service.

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