April 29th, 2008
Personal Data Management: Mesh, Evernote, the Atom and the Wave
A couple of early observations about MS Mesh:
Storage space will need to be unlimited and permanent. Imagine a 7 year old starting to use Mesh today. What will their data storage, connection and organization requirements look like in 20 years? Why should anyone need to delete anything ever?
It’s early yet, but it seems like there’s a missed opportunity around changing the desktop and folders metaphor. The single stream tag and search metaphor allows every object to be tagged (or filed) in many categories at once and retrieved along many facets. As the stream of data that is pointed at the Mesh grows, the idea having to drag things to folders stops making sense.
Although not a platform, Evernote does a good job of allowing you to save things to a storage space using multiple devices. They have Web, Phone, PC and Mac clients and you can send items via email. Tagging is already in place, but it doesn’t current support standard feed protocols or SMS. And it doesn’t support both individual and group storage, or have a newslog of system activity.
The physics of personal data storage seems to come down to the atom and the wave. Are things to be stored individual objects or are they streams? The answer is that they exist as both depending on your perspective. Can you mix the metaphor? Can you put a stream in a folder?
While not strictly competing, it will be interesting to compare these two services as they go forward. Complexity and simplicity are large factors in user acceptance. The service that can be most useful to digital natives will eventually go viral. What would a digital native save? And how would they like to access it?