Following on from my post yesterday on Opera’s new web-server-in-a-browser product, Chris Messina has written a pretty scathing, in-depth critique that also happens to be very smart and on the money. The Financial Times Techblog has an equally skeptical post but misses the point a bit.
In summary: Opera Unite uses the buzzwords of openness, without explaining why they’re useful in a way that makes sense for end users, and without actually being open.
The point Chris makes about users not caring about decentralization without having its follow-on benefits made clear resonates loud and clear with me. Here’s an interview where I talk about data portability and user control – two years ago. Nothing has changed, because nobody’s found a clear way to make this a marketable feature for end users. I’m beginning to think there isn’t one – which isn’t, of course, to say that I don’t strongly believe in the concept. It’ll allow for all kinds of new applications and push the envelope of what’s possible on the web, if we can find the business case for the steps in between.
Meanwhile, I’d love to post a counterpoint. Anyone want to write a post about why Opera Unite is awesome?