At last week’s Business 2.0 Conference keynote, Matthew Glotzbach (Product Director for Google’s Enterprise Products) gave us a nice surprise when he listed TripIt as #6 on his list of “Top 10 things you can do in the cloud that you couldn’t do last year.” As the only non-Google application on the list, it was terrific acknowledgement that TripIt is making progress in interesting areas.
We are grateful to Matthew for his comments (summarized here) and all tweetery that followed. It’s always a thrill (and yes a little scary) to know that you’ve landed on Google’s radar screen. More importantly, we totally agree with Matthew that a service like TripIt was not possible before the advent of cloud computing and we’re going to see a lot more things that were hard to imagine even a few years ago. Exciting times!
From our point of view, cloud computing is an important enabler of two big trends. The first is the increasing pervasiveness of the Internet and the second is the interoperability of the services that live there. A quick comment on each:
1. Pervasive Internet connectivity. It is amazing how you can connect to the Internet these days. The iPhone is getting the bulk of the buzz right now as an example of usable Internet via a mobile device, but the other places are almost as interesting. Today, we can connect to or from a range of things like refrigerators, cameras, GPS devices and even cars. Through a steady stream of little connections, the Internet is going from a network to “The Network”. The end result is that all sorts of devices can now be as “smart” as the services they are connected to via the amazingly flexible Internet.
2. Interoperability of services. The other big trend we see is the development of standards and protocols that are enabling services and devices to communicate via the Cloud more easily. This is happening in a variety of ways. Sometimes this takes the form of standards RSS, iCal, RDF and microformats. Other times the interoperability happens in less open, but very powerful ways like open APIs or service aggregators like Fire Eagle. While none of these individually is the notional “Babel fish” enabling everything to communicate with everything else, each application and device that either consumes or exposes data in a structured way contributes to the greater interoperability of services to make the Cloud more useful for everyone.
It’s fun to think about a world where all things and services we use are connected to the Internet and are all able to communicate with each other. We’re not there yet, but it is happening. As it does, there is a growing need for a new breed of service or “agent” to help people manage all this potentially overwhelming connectedness and information. These new agents will quickly become smarter at working on our behalf to sort out what’s important from what’s not.
TripIt is becoming one of these agents in the world of travel so that the average traveler has the right information and the right time and doesn’t have to sweat the small stuff. We are seeing agents begin to aggregate, understand and act on information in a number of other industries too. It sure makes for a lot of Google News Alerts to track each day!