Last week Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb wrote a story about The Locker Project which is a new activity data capturing application. You can go there and read the full post (after you’re done here of course) and learn about the team at Singly working on this and the 1st place award they won at the Strata conference. Upon reading the lengthy post I got very excited about the possibilities of this new software platform.

Marshall describes it like this:

Here’s how The Locker Project will work. Users will be able to download the data capture and storage code and run it on their own server, or sign up for hosted service – like WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Then the service will pull in and archive all kinds of data that the user has permission to access and store into the user’s personal Locker: Tweets, photos, videos, click-stream, check-ins, data from real-world sensors like heart monitors, health records and financial records like transaction histories.

From the description you will have options of using the software on a hosted service, your own server, or even on your home computer. You will be able to pull in data using API’s, feeds, or custom connectors that will be built by the “Locker community”. But that’s all pretty standard fare nowadays. Nothing remarkable yet right? Well what makes this interesting is that the team behind this is focusing their priority on building a developer ecosystem to build apps on top of the platform. These apps will provide connections between your locker data and external web services. This could open the possibility of creating custom apps that can query multiple data sets from your own Locker against multiple web services. Reading about this made me think that this is what Diaspora should have been.

More from ReadWriteWeb:

The team behind the project say they fantasize about apps like:

  • food recommendations in neighborhoods they’ve visited from restaurants their friends have checked in at
  • a newsfeed filtering out what their click-stream history shows they’ve already read
  • pre-diagnosis of possible medical conditions based on personal medical and other history.

Your personal data will likely be of interest on its own, as a type of diary, but it’s probably going to be much more interesting and useful when cross-referenced with other sets of data. Those other sets of data will provide context, surfacing correlations and patterns that would otherwise be invisible. Recommendations, personalization, alerts, benchmarks, social and self assessment: the types of value adds that can be built on top of a good data set are just beginning to be explored. And there are few data sets as interesting, to you, than you.

Presumably users will have the ability to selectively designate what data they want to share with other users that visit their locker and web services. Also, I’d imaging that you could also share data sets with other lockers selectively as well. Yes, this sounds a bit confusing and complex. It won’t be easy to create an open-source, distributed, developer supported platform. The key will be if it can be executed well. Currently the Locker Project is available in a very early stage for download at Github but not in an end user usable fashion yet. I’ll keep you posted here on developments as I hear about them.

Last week I wrote about what I feel the future of Lifestreaming (read last 2 paragraphs) may bring. But it will require making the necessary data available with multiple ways to manipulate it. I think if the Singly team can focus on creating the hosted service in a way that can convey the value and provide a simple user experience they have a chance. It will be difficult but If all the pieces fall into place this could turn out to be an amazing platform.

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