Saturday, October 13, 2007

Web 2.0 Address Book

How many ways can someone reach you these days? Forget landlines, cellphones, email, and IM. How many social-networking sites have you joined? It seems like every couple months somebody wants us to join another one...first Friendster, then MySpace, now Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is a fairly fledgling service where you basically leave a message saying what you're doing at that moment of the day. They just keep coming!

I was just reading a post on Wired's Compiler blog discussing the Web 2.0 Summit that gets under way next week. A topic stirring interest is about a yet to be invented product called the "Web 2.0 Address Book," which is being referred to as a location-aware contact list. The idea is to have email, IM, phone, and social-networking sites working as one. Chris Messina offers a possible scenerio:
Rather than calling somebody or sending an e-mail or a Twitter or an IM, you just open up your contact list and click on their name. Wherever they are, your communication reaches them via the most convenient and appropriate means. So, they're walking on the beach, their iPhone rings. If they're in a meeting, they get a text message. If they're at their desk, they get an e-mail. If they're in Asia, they're probably asleep, so they get a voicemail.

Wouldn't that be cool, if not a heck of a lot simpler? Compiler goes on to say:

...your "presence" doesn't just exist on Facebook or Google. Rather, it lives in that layer of information which can be assembled from the pieces stored on every service you're a part of. Obviously, microformats would play a key part in such a scenario. Standards like hCard and hCalendar can be used to track where you are and what you're up to. OpenID can verify your identity, making your location data accessible to you and your group of friends. Instantly, anyone who wanted to get in touch with you could just look you up in their contact list and see where you are, what you're doing, what you'll be doing this afternoon and the best way to get in touch with you right now.

For more on this discussion, check out the original post by Messina, spurred by Google's acquisition of Jaiku (a service similar to Twitter). Sounds like all these things will be coming together soon. So I wouldn't fret about joining all these social networks to communicate with one another. What do people think about friends and family literally knowing where you are and what you're doing?

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