Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Speculating about Horizon

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There has been a fair bit of commotion about Horizon and/or Mesh over the past few days so I thought it would be fun to speculate as to what it might entail. I’m not basing this on any insider information or anything like that, the only information I have to go on is the same as any of you.
 
  • Given that Ray Ozzie talked about a way of connecting all of your PCs I’m wondering if Horizon will incorporate some sort of web-based remote access to your various PCs, a little bit like GoToMyPC.com, maybe through the form of a web-based RDP client. Terminal Services for the masses if you will.
  • Horizon seems to promise anytime access to your personal data hence I am wondering if Skydrive synchronisation will be incorporated into Foldershare. I hope so.
  • Windows Live Favorites already allows us to synchronise our web favorites to the cloud and across different PCs so I would assume that there would be some sort of interface to view those Favorites from within Horizon as well. And why stop at Favorites? Why not make ALL of your desktop settings such as menubar setup, IE and Windows security settings, and word lists sync across all computers as well.
  • Microsoft make money from building software that acts as a platform so I would assume that Horizon will also be a platform of sorts. In other words I would expect that there will be a way for 3rd party vendors to build Horizon add-ins; for example, Salesforce might provide an add-in to display your sales leads on Horizon. Of course, in the web world add-ins are known as "widgets" or "gadgets" so Microsoft are going to have to make a much better stab at this than the largely ignored Live.com and Live Gallery.
  • Let’s not forget Chris Jones’ memo from summer 2007:

“Windows Live Wave 3 will be designed so it feels like a natural extension of the Windows experience. … We will ‘light up’ the Windows experience with Windows Live. … What’s the relationship between a Windows account and a Windows Live ID (Microsoft’s Web-authentication technology)? Should we have a LiveID connected to account settings?”

Reading between the lines I would guess that "Horizon" is the brand name for Windows Live wave 3.

  • As Joe Wilcox says the key to Microsoft’s software+services strategy is synchronisation and he’s spot on. Ozzie built a synchronization platform prior to Microsoft with Groove and since he joined Microsoft he’s built another one with Feedsync. No wonder Microsoft are effectively open-sourcing Feedsync, its going to be the standard that powers Horizon and they want everyone to join the party.

What do you think?

-Jamie

UPDATE: Wouldn’t you know it….30 minutes after I publish this and George Moore publishes this blog entry on the Windows Live dev blog. Here’s my big takeaway:

Area

Product, Library or Protocol

4: Synchronization infrastructure:

"Astoria Offline"

Microsoft Sync Framework

Feedsync AtomPub extensions

3: Developer tools:

ADO.NET Data Services

.NET WCF Syndication libraries

AtomPub URI namespace conventions

2: Protocols:

AtomPub

Atom

1: Underlying Products and Services:

On-premise: SQL Server

Structured Cloud Storage: SQL Server Data Services

Live services: Spaces Photos and Application Data Storage

While all of the above code is available for initial use, this stack is not complete – there is more to come at even higher levels of abstraction. I’ll leave you with an additional foreshadowed reference to future announcements in this space, again quoting from Ray Ozzie’s MIX08 keynote:

Before you know it, you in this audience are going to have the option of being the first to try out an early technology preview of this simple but incredibly useful new software and service. As this product emerges just over the horizon, I think you’ll find it to be quite intriguing and key in delivering upon a compelling vision of a personal device mesh and of connected devices.

Quite obviously Horizon/Mesh is the "higher level of abstraction" being mentioned here. But enough of dripfeeding us information….show us the goods. Please.

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Written by Jamiet

March 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Live Mesh

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