Next Flock

I just came out from the Flock team meeting, where we once more discussed the issue of openness. We are open, we want to be more open, and we see that it’s something more than simply opening the sources. Actually, it requires resources. To became really open for all our users, for all potential contributors, for our partners, friends, competitors, for the market and for the world, we need to use more energy than to stay silent. That’s one of the lessons I got recently.

If you don’t pay attention, you drift to closed model.

We’re in the middle point, when we did too small effort to open ourselves, so we don’t get too much in return. And because we don’t get too much from being open, we keep not paying too much attention to this issue.
The perfect example is our Wiki Roadmap. We are open! Damn! And look where we are. We released Cardinal like weeks ago, and you can’t see where we’re progressing now! We understand that it’s our work that must happen first. It’s we who must spend resources, time and will, to give you everything you need to consider if you want to help us. THEN we can eventually start seeing benefit. So yes, we’ll break the barrier now.

Will started preparing the feature discussion documents for the Wiki and they should appear very soon. We want to involve you in the discussion on our features, we don’t want to fall into “we know better what you want, and we want to surprise you so we’ll stay silent and release late” model.

I’m very excited about this, it’s a high time to do that now, and I’m very happy to hear that Flock team share the opinion. This time, the discussion was started by Daryl. Kudos to him, for not letting us drift away. I’m tempted to start writing now about all the features we’re planning or even considering for next Flock release, but on the other hand, I’d prefer to leave the joy of communication to other devs so they can write about features they’re working on and get your help. Also, it would be better to have them on the Wiki so you can immediately write your thoughts about our ideas and add yours.

So, let me just give you a tips, we’re working on idea of what we call People. We want you to be able to see your friends activity, no matter where. To be able to open a tab and see your friend photo, last blog posts, pictures, IM conversations, emails. Imagine so way more powerful vCard, live updating with recent signals of activity, and last bits of communication with you both. We want to extend our favorites manager, so you can spend less time on managing your data, and be able to find what you need with minimum effort. We want to give you ability to store your settings remotely and synchronize flock between multiply machines, we want to give you ability to use your browser UI to get the data you really want. That’s far beyond of the idea of Microsummaries but in the same direction. To give you precisely the data you want to have with minimum UI and clicking. Looking for a book? Why can’t we give you the list of books matching your search pattern in a small dropdown so you can stay up to date with what’s on ebay or amazon without having to click through it. We want to make searching easier. Searching is the default way people use WWW today. We want to make it as easy and fast as possible, giving you ability to search across multiple search engines, filter the result data, maybe even point you results that were chosen by others (friends?) you trust. We want to bring more of your friends photo to you, making it possible to view new photos as photostream, watch/save videos. We want to make shopping easier. Remember BookBurro extension? You may be interested to know that Jesse is our Senior Engineer 🙂

Think about what you use on your daily basis… Browser, email, office… ah! Instant messaging. Right? Hey! It’s so social! Let’s make it easier no matter what IM network you use.

We’re also baking the thing that I’m developing right now. Imagine thing like Netvibes, or Google IG directly inside your browser. Extendible, powerfull, tied with your data, with people you like, photos you want to watch, emails you have, news feeds you subscribe… We want to give you a summary of *your* WWW world. And I’m happy to say that yesterday I started working on this.

We don’t know if we’ll make it all, and if it’ll be exactly like I described it above. Those are just early ideas we’re brainstorming now. We’ll bring them to the Wiki and let you know so you can add your thoughts.

We know that we still are fresh and full of ideas. We still see the browser we’re working on as a huge field with amazing amount of free space for new ideas, features that may make your life easier. We see the browser not only as a tool, but as a part of your life flow.

More details comming soon! 🙂