Jul 26 2010
We all know things are changing. Today Adobe Flash is the tool of choice to embed multimedia online, tomorrow it may be HTML 5. Or, subconsciously we’re all irritated when we click on a PDF. It freezes your browser and makes everything slow. One day that will change too. (and not a moment too soon!)
There’s one major change that’s been taking place over the years. It’s on a slow cycle, lollygagging on its way in. I’m talking about the downfall of the PC and rise of centralized servers. Even now our computers are more and more becoming conduits to information stored out there somewhere- in the nebulous internets where only George Bush could possibly find it. We store our pictures on Facebook, videos on Youtube, our diaries on blogs, email with Google, Yahoo, or a few others. Not to mention our calendars, schedules, contact information, and documents- these are all moving online.
The advent of Google Apps proved that desktop applications can be moved to the web. Now people are taking it to the next level- moving the entire desktop, to the web. Jibidee created a tool that begins to do just that. It appears like a desktop, but is accessible from your web browser. It’s hailed as, a webtop.Jibidee’s webtop consists of the following features: Calendar, Contacts, Photos, List/Notes, Documents, and Fax. They have easy to use sharing functions that integrate with your contacts. (Calendar sharing functionality is coming soon.) The List and Notes tool gives you the option to create notes, lists, notes with columns, as well as checklists. Photos can be arranged into Albums, set as the webtop background, and shared with your contacts. Jibidee took a different slant with their contact book in that it’s reminiscent of the kind we used to use before computers came into existence. It has pages that turn and fancy headings. It’s kind of homey- familiar in a way. The fax functionality is a noticeably cool anomaly in this already ground breaking webtop. To those who don’t know, online fax services are an entirely separate vertical. Most often it’s the sole product offering of the company. Our friends at Jibidee tacked the entire thing on as a feature within their product, for about the same price as other providers. Faxes can be sent and received from your webtop using a personal, dedicated fax line. Standard users have 100MB total storage, but it’s come to our attention that there’s a free 3GB upgrade to those who ‘like’ them on Facebook. I’m not sure there’s any reward for their Twitter followers, but we’re following them just in case.
One of the niftiest features is that everything you see on the webtop is mobile accessible- including faxes. So, you write a to-do list at home, head off to the grocery store, and it’s all right there on your phone. Then you need to fax some papers to the client. You can shoot those on over while you’re in the frozen foods section at the Piggly Wiggly. Here’s a full list of features Jibidee offers to help you get organized. I have to mention these packages come along with the hands down most resoundingly pleasant demos known to webkind. It’s almost like the folks at Jibidee are a happy and functional cohesive unit. I thought the web was reserved for us dysfunctional folks, but I digress. And I digress some more. Let’s talk about some digressions that could further usher in those predictions that are steadily approaching- namely the webtop.
Filetransfer- The number one thing Jibidee needs to do is to not forget the past before moving on to the future. The past is the desktop, and migrating desktop documents to the Jibidee webtop is one of the keys to their success. It needs to be easy and seamless. The current process is to individually select and upload files, (or have them faxed). This isn’t particularly convenient for someone who plans on moving large amounts of documents. There’s actually two pterosaur sized birds that could be knocked out with the same stone here. Bird one is that the file transfer process could be improved. Bird number two is much larger than bird one. Jibidee by nature, is a storage tool. I.e. If I really wanted to I could utilize Jibidee to safely back up my local files to a secure server. But, as squawked by bird one, this has to be done individually. The single stone solution to this, is, (wait for it), conquer yet another entire vertical- backups, also known as, storage.
By providing a tool that can sync the user’s local folders with their Jibidee account, Jibidee will open the floodgates to people being able to migrate to this new way of life. Not to mention tackling another industry. Not too shabby, I’d say.
Multi-level file structure. I have close to 500 labels in my Gmail account. Why? Because the folks at Google in their infinite wisdom did not think that I needed to have subdirectories. Long rants have been spent on this sad state of affairs for webmail. Jibidee’s service follows this de facto standard for web applications, providing one level of folders. I suggest that adding the subfolder functionality would be a key step towards people migrating to a webtop. Without subfolders there’s an upper limit to how many documents can be reasonably managed. It also happens to be necessary in order for digression #1 to be implemented.
Applications. Google apps made it clear that we can use Word Processing applications online. The lists and notes features are useful and provide moderate document creation and editing abilities. As of right now if we upload Word or Excel docs however, they can only be read, shared, downloaded and faxed. What if I could edit them? Turns out it’s not as hard as it would seem. Some brainiac’s took it upon themselves to call themselves Zoho, and also provide a complete set of Productivity apps (Word, Excel, etc…). Why Jibidee may care is that the Zohoians also provided an API. Its purpose is to provide “open access to as many of its online application services as possible.” My suggestion is to look into it, and see if they succeeded.
The service of Jibidee is a strong paving stone in the direction of a fully functional webtop. They provide a complete set of tools that would help organize sales professionals, self employed individuals, as well as families or groups who would like to share pictures, notes, documents, and soon, calendars. This may be a happy niche to stay in and is certainly helpful in staying organized and getting things done. Perhaps, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, they’ll also indulge themselves in a digression, or two.