October 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Information Year: General Rating: 4 Hot
To facilitate more efficient interaction with data and services available in the emerging web Cloud, we should build a Web OS or “middle-ware layer developers can write applications to”, says Twine creator Nova Spivack. Ideally, such a layer would be “brand agnostic” and serve as a neutral “marketplace for finding and orchestrating [all] services rather than one company’s services.”
“The middle-ware should be able to handle this without making me subscribe to anyone’s proprietary API,” paints Spivack, “So if I say, ‘I need to store something,’ the middle-ware layer, this Web OS, should say ‘Hmm, where do I get the best deal on storage right now?’ Maybe it’s Amazon, maybe it’s Google, maybe it’s another location.’”
Clearly such middle-ware would save time and generate other efficiencies, especially in the context of exponential information growth, creating “a major commercial opportunity” for the right developer, as Spivack points out.
Here’s the full Web OS scenario as presented by Spivack:
So the question then becomes, which organization will end up building out such a structure?
The usual suspects Google and Microsoft immediately pop into mind. Both have made big browser plays and understand the significance of The Cloud and human attention.
But perhaps it will prove too large or complex an effort or present a fundamental conflict of interest for such companies, in which case open-source efforts facilitated by the likes of the Mozilla Foundation may prove most effective.
Or maybe a newcomer like Twine will combine growth, understanding and laser-like focus to capture both the prize and the enormous responsibility that comes along with managing the Web OS.
Certainly Spivack has demonstrated the ability to understand the emerging web, appears poised to dramatically scale Twine, and does not appear to be the type that shies away from a fight. I wouldn’t put him to take a calculated shot at the stars (or simulation boundaries).
Here’s his vision of the emerging web:
“If somebody can build something like that, and maybe even make it open-source, then we’ll have something really amazing,” says Spivack.
However it goes down, I think it’s likely that Spivack will play a significant role in how this emerging and necessary layer of the global brain.