The Ultimate Web Worker’s Desktop

by Maskil on 26 Jun 2009

I recently blogged about the need for a new generation of comment tracking systems (what I referred to as the Ultimate Comment Tracking System or UCTS). That led me to think in broader terms about the connected desktop for the Web worker, and which elements of that connected desktop are mature, which are still emerging, and which do not yet exist. Here’s the list as I see it:

(When I refer to a client, it could be either a Web browser-based service or an application installed on the desktop, e.g. an Adobe AIR application.)

Network/Service Example Status
E-mail Client Outlook/Express, Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail Mature
Atom/RSS Feed Reader FeedDemon, Google Reader Mature
SMS Client BulkSMS Messenger (usually associated with a particular provider) Mature
Blog Post Editor Windows Live Writer Emerging
Instant Messaging Client Digsby (also supports social networking) Emerging
Micro-blogging Client Posty (also supports social networking) Emerging
Social Networking Client (status updates) TweetDeck (branching out from Twitter) Emerging
Comment Tracking System Ultimate Comment Tracking System or UCTS Non-existent

The boundaries between the various types of networks are not rigid, e.g. the boundary between social networking status updates and micro-blogging is very blurred (Twitter accommodates both), and they may eventually converge.

In an ideal world, rather than trying to choose the best entry point for each of these services, we should be able to concentrate on the message or content, the audience (individual, group or broadcast), whether the message is private or not and whether we want to communicate synchronously or not. Our single e-communications tool would then select the best networks or services to forward the message to, with additional changes depending on the status of the recipient, e.g. on or offline.

The elephant in this particular room is Google’s recently announced Wave product, which could well impact on many of these categories in ways we can only guess at right now.

Whatever the outcome, I think that this space is going to start getting really interesting in the near future.

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