Today while perusing my Alltop page, I found a post titled: What will be the successor of the current user profile in online networks? by Eric Mariacher. In the post he stated:
My answer is: I guess LinkedIn is pioneering the “successor of user profile” with 3 specific features:
1. who you know – your network
2. recommendations from current and past colleagues
3. LinkedIn Q&A feature where you can advertize your skills by asking and answering question. from what I understand this is what you call “software usage”.
When I read this, I needed to make a comment. LinkedIn is pioneering the successor of the user profile? If that’s what pioneering is, then what is Beat-Play? These three features are cool, and very useful from a professional standpoint. They add reasons to have a profile, other than telling everyone that you’re at the ski lodge for the week so robbers will have open access to your house.
Adding practical functionality is always good, but these uses alone are not enough. Not only should the profile represent you professionally and personally, but imagine if your profile information was tied to the content you view online, and your web use in general. Imagine if you accessed all of your favorite stored content through your profile. Imagine if you only needed one profile!
The future of profiles online will lie in the browser. It seems like a strange concept at first, but given a closer look, it just seems practical. There’s literally millions of websites out there, and every one pretty much does something different, and useful. This goes back to my Toolbox post from last week. We need a place to keep all of these great tools, and the browser is the place to do it.
Browsers like Safari, and now Chrome, are beginning to offer quicker ways to access your favorite sites, by offering a function that shows you screens shots of your favorite websites upon launch, so you can easily 1-click and be off. However this is only a very small way browsers can save us time.
Many websites I use require me to sign up, register, and usually create a profile. For many people, this is a big deterrent from actually using some sites. There have been attempts by companies to create universal profile systems such as Open ID, and many others. However this also requires a person to create a profile, and then not all websites support these forms of identification, or they support one, but not another.
A better solution would be for the browser to house the user’s profile information. Think about it. There are about 5 major browsers on the market today. Compared with the number of websites, which is the more universal medium? If even the top 3 browsers had systems to store profile info, the websites would have a much easier time integrating their logins with those browsers. Many websites already make Firefox Add-ons and widgets. It’s become extremely easy, especially with the open source browsers, to integrate websites into them. Also, it wouldn’t be too hard to sync a user’s Twitter, Myspace and/or Facebook profile with a profile stored on a browser – the ultimate solution!
I cannot wait for the day when I go to sign up to a new website and it asks me to agree to the terms, and then I get a little box that says “Syncing to Browser Profile Data.” That would sure save me a headache, and it could be an amazing thing for websites as well.
But hey, if the big browsers wait to long, then shit, I’ll just have to do it myself. Browsers are for sure the future of profiles, and in my opinion, computing in general, even over OS’s, just ask Google.
Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC