The Mine! Project

open source project for online data and relationships logistics

The Mine! Project – Google Tech Talk Part 1

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Back in April, when Alec and I visited the Bay area, we did a lunch time talk about the Mine! project at Google. Here is the first part:

Live Web revisited

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Let’s go back in history. 5 years ago Doc Searls wrote about the World Live Web. At the time, social web was forming in the hands of bloggers, no social networks, micro-blogging or some such.

…we’ve been limited in our understanding of the Web, and of the Net, by the real estate metaphors we use to make sense of it: site, address, location, home, delivery… Even commons. Those are all necessary yet insufficient to a full understanding of what the Web is for.

Yes, the Web is a place. Sure. But what do we do there? Is it just a place to put up sites? A place where we store and forward messages and publications to each other? Or is it a place where life happens? Is it a place where we can truly live?

I find that our understanding of the web is still limited – we build platforms and silos instead of living of the distributed magic of the net.

I was happy with using social web to describe the blogosphere, wikis, feeds, tagging. And then social networking arrived… Proliferating silos each extracting their pound of flesh from their users in the form of profiles and activities that lock data into a platform or a format and cannot be exported or used elsewhere.

Last time I saw Doc was two weeks in Boston and we talked about Live Web again. Here is what he blogged about it recently:

The Live Web isn’t just built. It grows, adapts and changes. It’s an environment where we text and post and author and update and tweet and syndicate and subscribe and notify and feed and — and yell and fart and say wise things and set off alarms and keep each other scared, safe or both. It’s verbs to the Static Web’s nouns. It is, in a biological word that has since gone technical, generative.

I explained that the Mine! is and has always been predicated on the Live Web. It is where people can be at their most empowered. And it is the best place for tools that would help them bypass platforms and lock-ins. The first time I mentioned this to Doc (and others) was at one of the IIW events in December 2007. I am glad to say we have come a long way since…

VRM brainstorm session at IIW

One of the outcomes of the meeting was connecting with a couple of geeks/coders willing to sit down and help to translate the vision of VRM personal data space into technical specs and hopefully a prototype to demonstrate what we have been trying to describe since the VRM brainstorming session at IIW in Mountain View last December.

Together with Alec we were able to do that with VRM feeds based data sharing, but now we need to move onto the lightweight tools for personal data capture, analysis and management (working name u-spot and after discussions last night likely to change to MINE. :) )

And I hasten to add that “Mine!” has been a much better choice of a name than u-spot. :)

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