There was a Wall Street Journal story on Saturday with David Gelernter who conceived the concept of Lifestreaming. It’s a great article and an interesting read where I came to learn several new things I never knew about him. More detail regarding the patent infringement lawsuits against Apple are covered which I touched upon in a recent video interview post about him. A new term he coins and goes into detail about is the notion of collections of Lifestreams in aggregate that he defines as a “Worldstream”.

image of David Gelernter courtesy of Read Write Web

From the article

Eventually business models based on streaming will dominate the Internet, he predicts. All the world’s data will be presented as a “worldstream,” some of it public, most of it proprietary, available only to authorized users. Web browsers will become stream browsers. Users will become comfortably accustomed to tracking and manipulating their digital objects as streams rather than as files in a file system. The stream will become a mirror of the unfolding story of their lives.

“I can visualize the worldstream,” says Mr. Gelernter, explaining its advantages. “I know what it looks like. I know what my chunk of it looks like. When I focus on my stuff, I get a stream that is a subset of the worldstream.

I too have often thought the business opportunities that could be built around the data generated by Lifestreaming. But we’re still in a phase of getting people to feel comfortable lifestreaming and developing methods to effectively tag and store the data. Facebook is trying to do this with the introduction of the timeline. They’re also trying to effectively catalog this detailed data with the development of the open graph. As lifestreaming and the resulting data becomes more ubiquitous, we should see these services start to come online. This could include vertical based lifestreams such as quantified self personal activity tracking (read paragraph 6 of this post)

In the article we also come to find out that David Gelernter and his son Daniel have created a new company. They’ve started to seek funding to create a product to bring Lifestreaming to the iPad.

From the article

The new venture, for which Mr. Gelernter is just beginning to seek funding, will focus on developing a lifestream product for the Apple iPad. “We like the pad,” he says. “A particular goal is to create a lifestream which aggregates the most popular social network streams, and includes email and stuff like that. It will generate revenues the way Twitter and Facebook do—by getting huge numbers of users, beginning at the place we know, Yale University undergraduates, who love glitzy new software. They tell their parents, who are big shots because their kids are students at Yale.” The new product will spread virally, forming a vast audience that can be sold to advertisers.

This is interesting. Entering the crowded world of lifestreaming apps and services will be very challenging at this stage of the game. I’m very curious to see what David Gelernter will bring to the table to distinguish this product from the rest of the pack.  I look forward to monitoring this and bringing you more news as I discover it.

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