Thanks for visiting us!
We are so excited to push our SocialFolders beta out of the nest. Here are a few words to share with you regarding how we’ve started this project and why we hope it may be useful.
My name is Philippe Honigman. I’ve been designing products and launching startup companies for quite a while. I love elegant technology. While many engineers have no problem with this concept, it might not be obvious to some people, so let’s put it this way: elegance arises when the inherent complexity of engineering work is leveraged to deliver simpler and faster interactions between systems and/or human beings.
The Web itself is an obvious example of that. Based on a simple and robust protocol and a standardized user interface, it enables billions of people to access information on an unprecedented scale. An incredibly complex technology is required to achieve that, but it’s hidden, and nobody has to worry about it.
Adding social applications and cloud infrastructure to the lot, people have started not only consuming content from the Web, but also contributing, managing, and sharing content there. More and more tasks that were being done mostly on the desktop are migrating to the Web: sending and receiving emails, writing documents, sharing and printing photos, etc.
However, this doesn’t mean that the role of local storage and processing power is decreasing. Personal computers have never been so powerful, hard drive capacities are still increasing, and even smartphoness now have compute power greater than the supercomputer that controlled the Apollo 11 mission.
iPhone 4 teardown – Elegant technology “unveiled” – Source: iFixit
There are many reasons for this. Exploring them would exceed the scope of this post. Suffice it to say, whatever time people spend on the Web now, they still value “local” things, even immaterial ones such as software and files. People download stuff! They sync their digital property across their devices. They change and enhance them locally, using client applications such as photo editing apps, sound editing software, office productivity suites, and thousands of other applications.
The frontier between Internet browsing and local computing that was once very obviousis blurring very quickly. Local applications rely on the Internet to access remote resources and social channels. Online websites leverage new programming languages and sophisticated browsers to deliver rich user experiences.
But when it comes to accessing local information, there is an obvious way that has been around since the inception of personal computing and graphic user interfaces. Thevisual representation of a file system with its hierarchy of folders and its drag and drop operations is familiar to everyone. Files and folders as a metaphor for managing information have survived a 30-year evolution and has expanded to every new OS version since then. That’s a solid testimony to its relevance and usefulness!
1981 – Xerox 8010 Star – Source: psd.tutsplus.com/
Now let’s put everything together. We spend a big part of our digital lives online, accessing cloud-based services and communicating with other people. Our social lives are increasingly online now. But we are still valuing and managing the local information that sits on our physical devices. We use familiar interfaces to do so, like Windows File Explorer and Mac Finder.
What if we could extend the reach of these tools to access our cloud-based, social-enabled content? What if I could ensure that whatever document, photo, or video stored on my favorite social network or photo sharing site is also present on my local drive, available at any time in its original format? What if I could copy files from one website to another – without having to upload them again – just by dropping them in the appropriate folder? Wouldn’t that be cool? Or, maybe, elegant?
That’s our goal at SocialFolders. Think of it as the glue between your local data and your online and favorites social locations online. Be social. Stay local.
To be honest, as excited as we are with this project, we can’t wait now to see to how people will respond to it… how you will respond to it.
So tell us. Register for the private beta, and please provide feedback. Comment on our blog here, or on our Facebook page. Tweet @socialfolders. We’d love to hear from you.