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Thread: Microsoft's 'Social Desktop' - A prototype that bridges PC and Web

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    315

    Microsoft's 'Social Desktop' - A prototype that bridges PC and Web


    Social Desktop


    A new Microsoft Research prototype called Social Desktop blends the Web and the PC by automatically creating dedicated online pages for individual documents, photos and other files from a computer... letting people selectively share snapshots of their hard drive's contents. Social Desktop embeds the "web oriented" model for sharing in the center of the desktop experience, demonstrating new ways of integrating the desktop and the web.

    The Social Desktop blends the Web and PC by embedding Web oriented sharing inside your desktop, allowing every document to have the ability to have a backing social URL for sharing without having to upload or copy or move it from it's natural location. This url provides access not just to the file, but to a built in social experience which includes a rich preview of each item, comments, related items, tags, etc. Whenever friends comment with this social link via the web browser, the conversation is also available directly in Windows, and vice versa. The file links that you want to share can also be distributed via Digg, Twitter, and Windows Live Messenger.


    Microsoft Social Desktop

    It seems similar to how the Facebook social-networking site allows users to post links, videos and photos on their Facebook pages and add comments and other context to those links. So instead of going through the process of uploading pictures, copying link locations, and all of that other stuff you do in order to share something with a friend or colleague, Social Desktop will tear down the proverbial 'wall' that separates you (the user) from the beast (the internet).

    The benefits to a system like this would be universal access as URLs can work on any device anywhere in the world. It also could radically simplify what still remains a difficulty even today – file sharing. But the social element is what’s most unique about the software. We already know that files can be socialized – we’ve seen this taking place today on sites like Slideshare (social slideshows) and video sharing sites, too. But imagine a platform where any file on your computer could become a social experience with little effort on your part (except, I hope, to mark some as private! ).

  2. #2
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    Apr 2008
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    Microsoft's 'Social Desktop' - How exactly does Social Desktop works

    How exactly does Social Desktop works

    Microsoft social desktop is a Silverlight web page application so users can access it via a url, so any mechanism for distributing links to your friends can be used such as Twitter, Digg, Windows Live Messenger, etc. Previews and/or files are stored on the web using Windows Azure. Social Desktop adds URLs to the files and folders on your desktop, letting you share anything on your computer with anyone who can click on a URL. Persons receiving links can either access via e-mail or comment, tag, and search across all shared items via our Web page.


    We implement this by using a .NET service, but it is possible to create a universal namespace for every device and data source for a user, providing a universally addressable namespace with:
    • Universal access. The same URL works from any device in the world.
    • Universal sharing.
    • Universal tagging and commenting.
    • Freedom from legacy paths. Data isn’t limited by file-system concepts


    You can have a URL drill into a subportion of a document or a PowerPoint deck, or data can come from a Web service or a database. Social Desktop is a local service that maps the user’s local data into a .NET service bus service, enabling local data to be accessible through firewalls. Social Desktop also provides a Web-service view over the same data, with inherent RSS event streams for any container. New data sources can be mapped into the URL hierarchy, enabling a distributed view to be built. There are simple sharing paradigms that enable URLs to be shared temporarily or permanently.

    Social Desktop is expected to incorporate security and privacy precautions. For example, a PC user could go online to see everything shared from his computer, although others would only be granted permisison to access to specific items.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2008
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    Microsoft's 'Social Desktop' - A prototype that bridges PC and Web

    Verdict

    Social Desktop goes far beyond any of today’s sync/file-sharing platforms that I’ve ever heard of as it truly meshes the machine to the web in a way that’s never been done before.

    Unfortunately, the project is still in very early stages and is more of a "proof of concept." That means it may or may not ever be released publicly. Microsoft Researc's Tom Laird McConnell is leading the project, working with Cheng and engineer Cezary Marcjan.

    Cheng contrasted Social Desktop with Microsoft's existing Live Mesh service.
    In the Mesh model, you can almost imagine your PC being pushed to the cloud. In this, you can almost imagine the Web being embedded inside your desktop.
    A spokesman from Microsoft's public relations firm stressed that Social Desktop is just a research prototype and will not be a feature in Windows 7, nor will it be available for public use. So it doesn’t look like we’re going to see anything in the near future, but I don’t know, with the rapid advance of social networking and the sheer demand for it as more and more “regular” internet users dive into the social media world, I could definitely see this being pushed forward sooner than later

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