« Home | Uphook update » | It has begun » | It's...Inevitable » | Keepin' It Simple » | PINs and Encryption...a Bad Idea? » | Not too Hot, Not too Cold » | Rucker Park » 

Friday, December 02, 2005 

Front Ended

void main()

So today I got another idea about this technology known as the Internet. Specifically pertaining to the WWW, my idea is based on the fact that many websites are acting more like service providers. In fact, many can be considered applications due to their tool/service-like nature. This got me thinking. If many websites are simply applications accessible from anywhere with a decent Internet connection, then what feature of common desktop applications (AIM, Word, notepad, etc) can I incorporate into these online 'applications' to improve them?

I began thinking in terms of improvement, rather than creating something entirely new. Like... a front end. An alternative interface built on top of, or complementing another application. Think skins for Winamp. Or GAIM. The original infrastructure was already there. These are simply add-ons or modifications. The user base is unchanged. Perhaps an example would be best...

Lets say there is some website like facebook that is basically a peer networking application. From there, you may search for friends, add/remove friends, host images and data, communicate with people, etc.

However, a common set back is that you are unable to view someone's profile who you are not friends with or do not go to the same school as. What if a new website came up: www.fullfacebook .com. This website had the ability to log into FaceBook as a user from all schools (had a database of at least one correct login for each school). And lets say it allowed anyone who visited it to log into its server by verifying it with FaceBook (uses FaceBook’s user verification scripts, etc). It would act as a front end for FaceBook. But when you usually wouldn’t be able to see someone’s profile, the alternate login kicked in, logged in as a user from the target school, and retrieved the profile information.

This is just an example, and it is probably more complicated than this-- but those are simply implementation details. The idea seems solid enough. The question is would the original FaceBook complain? Probably. Could they do anything legally about it? I don’t know. Could they do make it difficult? Definitely.

Lets say they catch on. A simply change in their implementation could easily render the front end useless. At least until it was updated to correlate with the original site's change.

This has been explored before-- dogpile is a search engine that just searches all other search engines at the same time. Dogpile is a front end for a web search application.

The idea is to let the real work be done by the original application. Simple adding a new look, or a new feature (that many find annoying in the original) could be all it takes to make people flock to your site instead. There is no copying involved if you are simply reformatting the data you receive from using an application as a regular user.

*shrugs* Something to think about.