Sunday, February 10, 2008

The only interesting software

Two sentences of an article titled "Mashups are Breaking the Mold at Microsoft" in today's New York Times business section troubled me. Both quote Microsoft's John Montgomery:
Popfly, he said, is for “the 21- to 27-year-old crowd who grew up on the Web.” “They have never known a world without eBay, Amazon, or Google,” he added. “They assume that when you create a piece of software it will be Internet-connected and it will have an innate sense of who your friends are.”

“His message was that the only interesting software is going to be software that is connected to the Web and we have to work on that,” Mr. Montgomery said.

Nothing taken away from the power and potential of the trend toward social-network-aware, web-native software, but is it really the only locus for potential? The ability to draw things from, and put things on, the web, does seem essential to me, and that should extend to all of the things one can do on the web, including social networking. But something troubles me about the idea that the only interesting use case is an individual sitting alone at their computer, no matter how "social" what they're connected to is. I still feel that people working, creating, playing together, actually live and face-to-face (also including virtual live settings), is also interesting and a deep well to tap.

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