Nokia Lifeblog Multimedia Diary Thoughts
Now that the cat is out of the bag about Nokia's Lifeblog I'm just going to use this bit of space to relay what I told Christian Lindholm back in Februrary at ETech when he described to me what this application did. He said, "We are working on a program which has "blog" in the title, but doesn't really have much to do with traditional blogging" and he wanted my thoughts on it. LOL.
Here's what I told Christian: Just make sure there's an open API of some sort. I've been weblogging for several years now and in my time lots of fads have come and gone. But the idea is that the memes that stick and are accepted by "the community" are the ones that allow participation and expansion. APIs are especially popular (XML-RPC, Google API, Amazon API, Trackback, Technorati, Atom), but also concepts (FOAF), graphics (those little xml icons) and anything you can stick on your webpage (BlogChalking, BlogRolls, etc.). In terms of desktop clients mostly the focus has been on news aggregators, but there's a few attempts to create better ways of posting using the APIs out there. Bloggers want to play, so you've got to let them.
Eventually Lifeblog *needs* to integrate with a weblogging service. But for now? Just an API to get access to the Lifeblog data would be fine and let the independant developers take it from there. Seriously - the application does so much - synching and organizing multimedia and text data from your phone, now all it needs is some hooks for the hackers out there to do cool stuff with it. An application that has blog in the name, but doesn't have anything to do with the web is a bit amusing since blog is short for the contraction between web and log, but at the core of it, blogs are simply easy-to-update digital diaries, which is what Nokia is trying to with this app. Let those motivated independant developers out there do the rest...
Now, I have to say, Nokia does not have a great record when it comes to desktop applications. The PC Suite that comes with Series 60 phones, *sucks*. The SDKs written in Java all pretty much *suuck*. Nothing I've seen Nokia do on the desktop up until now is anywhere near the quality, ease of use and design of something like the Palm Desktop or even (god forbid) Outlook. Let's hope they did their homework on this application because it'll be a shame if it's difficult to update or use. Dealing with multimedia, it needs to be as good as iPhoto or Adobe Photoshop Album in terms of usability and user-friendliness. Anything less will be a failure.
One would hope that the Lifeblog desktop client is only one part of the service, and that Nokia is looking ahead enough to provide an online service as well. Maybe not a weblog specifically, but one that would take advantage of 3G network speeds and provide similar synch and organizing capabilities online. They've already sorta tried this route with the SyncML capabilities of Nokia's CyberClub, but it definitely needs a bit more "oomph" that something like the LifeBlog would provide.
Anyways, open APIs, open APIs, open APIs. If you want play in the sandbox we call the blogosphere you've got to share your toys. It's as simple as that.