Simple Bridge Building – Ray Ozzie

Ray Ozzie, founder of Groove Networks and creator of Lotus Notes, now one of Microsoft’s many CTOs demonstrated LiveClipboard.

Coincidentally, Ian and I were just last night speculating on a network enabled clipboard that would allow users to copy and paste from other screens to their own. It seems Ozzie’s work on Windows Live has yielded a similar, yet more sophisticated application.

The clipboard is the original mashup mechanism, enabling data from one application to be re-used in an another – Ozzie began his talk with the premise ‘Where is the clipboard of the web’ and ‘Why isn’t this just the regular clipboard users are already familiar with?’. Ozzie speculates that such a mechanism would become a lightweight mechanism for connecting the data silos of the web.

LiveClipboard uses the native CF_Text format (the original microformat!) of the Windows clipboard and simply inserts a piece of structured XML data, rather than plain text. This isn’t disimilar to the way content can be copied from an IE web page and pasted into Microsoft Office applications, preserving the original pages’ formatting. In this case the content of the CF_Text construct is HTML.

Ozzie’s examples of LiveClipboard included:

  • Copying event information from and Eventful.com web page and pasting into an Outlook Calendar.
  • Copying RSS feed data from a web page and pasting into an aggregator – simplifying an otherwise onerous process for new users.
  • Copying a live location feed from a Windows Mobile / MSN Spaces field to a Facebook.com profile.
  • Copying a Flickr image from a web page and pasting into a desktop folder.
  • Copying and pasting a Flickr photostream feed into a folder populates the folder with live Flickr content. Is this a pre-cursor to WinFS functionality?

Ozzie closed out his session with an invitation to help proliferate LiveClipboard support by helping to shape a common set of microformats, conceding that the success of LiveClipboard depended on collaboration between Microsoft and the wider web.

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