Today’s users want everything to just work! Who can bring enterprise level inter-interoperability to the average user? It would seem that Apple has made some huge strides, and might be gearing up for another one, with big hopes for new announcements at WWDC.
I think it is an extremely smart idea for a company to focus on getting things that users want to simply work together. Gone are the days of stand alone apps that can’t share data. We have entered a world of open API’s and amazing web services that can join together to allow a user to grab exactly what they want and create their own, custom, and best solution.
Lets start with the basics. With Twitter, you can post short little messages for your friends or anyone to see. It provides a cell phone, web, and instant messaging interface (when it isn’t suffering from technical issues, unfortunately that is a lot recently) Right there, if I want to use the service, its 3 great and easy ways for me to interact with it. If I need another reason to use Twitter, then enter Remember the Milk. With Remember the Milk you can simply manage a to-do list. It is plain and simple and wonderfully “Web 2.0.” There are many ways to integrate the service, but my one of my favorites with through Twitter. With Twitter, and the IM interface, I can just send a direct message to the Twitter account for Remember the Milk (rtm) and then Remember the Milk will recognize my Twitter account and add the message to my to-do list. As if that wasn’t enough, add Jott. With Jott, you can call a toll free number (in the US) and access a voice controlled service. From that service you can access a bunch of contacts and send out SMS messages or emails. Additionally, Jott works to integrate with other services, like Twitter, Remember the Milk, Google Calendar, and more.
Now, when you put this all together, you can get this awesome scenario: I’m driving home, I think of a tweet, or an event I might forget, or a message I need to send, or just something else I need to remember, but I can’t write it down since I’m driving. I press the voice dial button on my blue-tooth headset and say “Call Jott” Jott answers simple, “Who do you want to Jott” Now I can say Twitter, and then say my tweet and Jott will post it to my Twitter account. Or I can say Google Calendar and say “Meet with John about blogging at 2 on Saturday” and Jott will have Google Calendar add the even to my calendar for Saturday at 2.
This integration of services can put so much at my disposal at any time. Perhaps the described scenario doesn’t meet your needs, the beauty is that each one of these services is simple, and serves a simple task, and meets a simple need, but its ability to work together with other applications makes it truly powerful. Whatever solution you need, hopefully there will come a day when there will be web services that you can access, and integrate easily and seamlessly together to meet your specific need.
Now, I don’t want you to think that these services are the end all, take all, perfect beings. They are not without their flaws, and using them in this fashion may be considered by some as being an early adopter. They are new services, still working out what exactly it is that they will do, who their customer base is, and what their business model will truly be. But the point here is that, if this is what you want to call Web 2.0, then this is what Web 2.0 may be able to offer us some day. An ability to simplify our lives in a new way, an ability to choose from a buffet of services that may meet a specific subset of our needs, and integrate them together to get us something that can’t be solved by any one provider.
I was planning an entry on what is Web 2.0, but I think I may forgo that, excluding some other news article that inspires me to pick it up again, because I think that this post sums it up. At least for me, Web 2.0 is the Internet, for the user. It is a world wide web that can bring so much more to the consumer than anything could before. Services and capabilities that were once only available to huge enterprises who spend thousands upon thousands to develop a custom application. Soon may be the days when developing a “custom” application is simply selecting some great, open, existing solutions, and hooking them together through robust and useful API’s.