Transformative web applications

August 29, 2007

Steven Garrity discovers how different using Google Docs is compared to desktop word processing. While I use Google Docs a bit, I wouldn’t say it’s really changed my life a lot because I guess I just don’t write very much, at least compared to other people.

Let me jump off the Google fanboy wagon for a minute and talk about something different. What has changed things significantly for me, in terms of desktop->web transition, is Years ago when I was working on Rhythmbox, someone mentioned to me, and I took a quick look, but I wouldn’t say I really understood it. I guess at the time I was too busy inventing more complex ways to badly implement a database. Sigh =/

Anyways, so fast forward a few years and someone again (I forget who now) pointed me to and I subscribed, gave it a try. is a lot of things (music wiki and concert calendar to name two), but what I use it for is as a personalized radio of music I like that I can access from anywhere there’s a web browser. I don’t have to deal with backing up my music, or carrying it around with me (though support for caching some of my radio on my iPod would be nice).

I would say I’m probably more extreme than most users in that lately I haven’t been bothering with owning or buying music much at all anymore. I mostly just like something I can listen to on random when I’m working or driving. But even if you still own music (and their scrobbler supports this very well), is a great example of how truly transformative the web can be versus a disconnected desktop application. It would in theory be possible to show you a concert event calendar customized by the music you listen to with a desktop music player, but it’s just hard. Or the social network of like-musically-inclined people. It would be impossible to do the streaming music legally right now without some sort of business backing.

It’s actually kind of unfair to compare with a desktop music player because really, they aren’t the same thing at all. One’s a service, and one is software.

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