It has been a theme of mine, and some others, that the whole point of good solution design for Web 2.0 is people centric in comparison to the previous generations of technology. Starting with Mainframes, moving through Minis and into PC Networks each preceding generation has had the technology it was named after at the centre of any solution design. Accordingly the logic, and I expect most people’s natural reaction, is to say that the Web is at the centre of our new generation.
If I characterise solutions by the technology elements then this is true, but take a look at this a different way. How many Web 2.0 services do you belong to? Assuming that you are an active user then the answer is probably at least five and maybe as high as ten or more. Doesn’t look like getting to be less either. Now look at the number of devices, at least three is my guess; work PC, home PC and Smart Phone.
Want a wish? Yup you got it in one, devices that are all synchronised in a way that it doesn’t matter what device you are using everything is fully synchronised and a consolidation of your Web 2.0 services so that you don’t have to keep hopping from site to site, often having to re log in and out. Well doesn’t that mean you, the person, want to be at the centre of the system, and solutions should be designed accordingly?
When you think about it we are seeing a change from implementing and using a limited number of monolithic applications to selecting from a vast number of small granular services that we mostly will use as ‘services’ from a remote hosted environment. Not surprisingly this changes the perspective in terms of solution design, or more accurately the focus of usability, and as people have the power in the new model to make their own choices it follows that web services that are ‘people’ centric will win.
Which brings me to FriendFeed; the hot ‘newbie’ on the block that takes down the separations between the various parts of your Web 2.0 life. Currently it allows around thirty sites to be pulled together onto one FriendFeed page, and combines the use of people with content. One of its key aspects is the way that it uses your friends to make recommendations about the content. The theory is an extension of the Amazon principle of ‘people who bought this also bought’ to apply to your search for information. It will be interesting to see how this approach will develop. As a quick start you can get to one of the best known Web 2.0 characters Robert Scobie on FriendFeed and build up from there.
What about synchronisation of all those devices? Well I have a personal tip for you to consider for your own private use, as that’s about as good as it gets at the present, Try SugarSync who host all your files for you as a centralised version that any, and all, your popular devices can then access. Of course if you can guarantee that everything you have runs on Windows then you can use Windows Live Foldershare but with a widening use of devices I think that might be too limiting.