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SocialPC 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 its 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 social preview is a Silverlight web page which is accessible via a url, and 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: web sharing model in the destkop

Today, it’s easy to share a Web page or a blog post, because items on the Web have unique IDs: URLs. We don’t have this on the desktop. 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.

The Social Desktop prototype studies how the desktop can connect to the web, and can encourage open and easy sharing.

This project is in the early stages, and is a "proof of concept." 


Tom Laird-McConnell
Tom Laird-McConnell