Portability typically implies import/export. I can move my data from here to there. Certainly there is value to this, but it seems to me what I really want is a unified "data location agnostic" view of my data. For example, I'd love to be able to do a search in my data universe and find everything with the words "waterfront project" across all my data silos like Facebook, Google Apps, etc.
Similarly, I'd like to be able to relate a document I was working on in Google Documents to Mary Smith who exists in my universe as a Facebook profile. When I am looking at Mary Smith's profile I'd like to see that Google document listed somewhere since it is related to her. But I don't want to move the document to Facebook to make that happen.
The point is, what I am really interested in is not porting data but connecting and unifying it. And I'd like some kind of dashboard from which I could really see and explore as much of my universe as possible.
And so it seems to me a good word for what I am talking about is data visibility as opposed to data portability.
This visibility concept really encompasses two elements:
- I want to be able to do a full text search of my data universe.
- I want to be able to connect items in my universe regardless of their type or location. For any given item in my universe I would then be able to see all the others items in my universe that relate to it.
To geek out for a sec, to achieve all of this what is probably necessary is for as many applications to provide search APIs and unique identifiers for each data item. To make it universal we would also need some kind of "field availability" API that would let us see what types of fields can be searched.
But regardless of the tech specifics, this is a simple concept. It would facilitate a whole new way of thinking about and organizing our personal data universe. I think it would be incredibly helpful. Do you agree?