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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Ray Ozzie’s Web Clipboard

Similar to his post on SSE, Ray Ozzie’s post on Wiring the Web has generated a lot of chatter.

I see this as really two things:

  1. Solving a major usability problem in Web applications: unbearably limited copy and paste. While we take this for granted in our client applications, we have all gotten by without it in Web applications for way too long. In and of itself this is a big deal.
  2. Then, what I think is the actual big deal: a Web demonstration of something else that most of us have probably ignored outright: the L in OLE (i.e., linking). Sure, this works in our client applications (though I think many of us abandoned its use a long time back), but working between applications anywhere on the Internet? Very powerful. And yes, RSS will already allow us to subscribe and fetch data into our aggregator. But coupling microformats with RSS and a simple link-pasting mechanism gives us (and even the “average” user) so much more.

I wonder how many people are surprised that it ends up being Microsoft that comes up with something like this. This is real Web 2.0 innovation, yes, but also interesting is that it can remove a key usability advantage that smart-clients have over browser UI. Ironically this helps close the gap between the BUI and the GUI (and we know which one wins this fight when the gap is gone). Now, I really wish I was going to Mix06 — maybe there will be more up their sleeves. BTW, I like the fact that Microsoft is working with Dave Winer on these ideas (OK, maybe it is just Ray Ozzie doing that, I don’t know).

Marc Cantor says he loves the Web Clipboard here. I almost misquoted him as saying it was “coolio” — seemed like a safe bet — anyway, it layers well on his work with microformats.

Adam Green asks if Windows is relevant in a Web 2.0 world? He wonders if part of Mr. Ozzie’s motive is to make Windows still relevant. Certainly a valid question; however, the interop that the screencasts show between the OS and the Web may depend on Windows in this implementation (and specifically the Windows RSS Platform), but the underlying architecture does not. It is just XML. So is the question really: is the desktop OS relevant in a Web 2.0 world? Undeniably, yes. I, for one, would like to see the OS vendors fight for their customers on features and not using lock-in. This sounds like a feature, not a lock-in.
Jim Benson uses Mr. Ozzie’s effort of an example of how . . .

We are moving beyond push-blogging to actually sharing information. It’s beyond pull as well. The read write web may well be the push pull web … and all points in between.

I was having this same thought driving home today — though we all have to help make this happen by engaging in microformats and Web Clipboard adoption (otherwise we may end up with a push-me pull-you Web 😉

I’m up for it.

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