July 01, 2012

Not The Cloud, Many Personal Clouds

Over on his Wired column this week Jon Udell shows how to use his elmcity calendaring system to let you publish events in multiple locations from one canonical source.

This process is called syndication and Jon wisely notes that organisations particularly should choose a location on the open web to publish the definitive version. Obviously this is something that services such as Facebook would prefer that you didn't do, and if you aren't paying attention it isn't immediately obvious that you aren't publishing on the open web - as it's only if you don't have a Facebook account that you'll notice that you need one to view events on there.

Jon also imagines a future where he'll choose where all of the data pertaining to him is stored - which he could choose to be either something he hosts himself, or a commercial service - and then syndicated out to the places he wants it to live, such as Flickr or Facebook or Wordpress or wherever...

It's something that I'd also like to see us move towards, and something I wish(/hope) the Freedom Box project could help build. However, from my limited understanding it seems to be more focused on building a replacement web that has free (as in freedom) versions of the same services instead. I hope I'm wrong on that.

Another way that I could see us moving more towards such a future would be using an embryonic new web technology called Web Intents. This is something that a friend of mine, Paul Kinlan has been pushing forward with his work at Google.

Web Intents provides some of the loose coupling that you need to let different web services talk to each other, and to let the user choose the particular service that they use to perform actions like "pick one of my photos" or "share this page on my blog" without needing the proliferation of icons that we see at the moment to make it easy to tweet, like, or share on this, that and the other...

I can imagine a proxy Personal Cloud (to use Jon's term) service that offers all the usual integration with Web Intents and passes the action onward to my choice of service - Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc. - but saves a copy of the data en route. That would allow Jon, or anyone, to bootstrap a personal cloud service for archival purposes, and as such services gained popularity then maybe we'd see syndication becoming the norm.

Posted by Adrian at July 1, 2012 11:32 AM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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