Ajax, More Than Just A Cleaning Solution

04Oct06

 Memories of stained toilet seats and grimy kitchen cabinets come flooding back when I mention Ajax to friends.

 Ajax Cleaning Solutions

“I would have lost my sanity if it wasn’t for Ajax,” Sheila whimpered to my wife, struggling to hold back a tear. “No other cleaning solution worked for me. Ajax is all I think about when it’s time to clean.”

Goodness gracious, you’d think that there would be more to life than Ajax for some folks, but apparently not. At least not until it became the buzzword for today’s trendy Internet community. You see, the Ajax I tried telling my friends about, was about the hottest Web development technique right now. How hot is it? Well, let’s just say, it gets more buzz than Paris Hilton’s debut album (which I won’t even bother linking to).

Some pundits have attributed the Web’s Second Coming to the rising popularity of Ajax. Ajax type Web applications are blooming so fast all across the Internet that it has become far easier to sit through another moth-eaten episode of ‘Fear Factor( do I really need to know another recipe for a milkshake?) than trying to keep up with the latest Ajax app. Thank God for TechCrunch.

But isn’t such applications meant to make our lives a little more significant, you ask? Well, I don’t know about significant, but this new generation of Web apps are worth keeping a look out for. And one such app, is what may be termed as, personalized start pages or Ajax desktops. Does My Yahoo ring any bells? Let me explain.   

My Yahoo Homepage

You don’t hook up to the Internet today to send out an e-mail or two anymore. I’m sure of that. If you’re like most Internet users, you’re probably digesting dollops of information, sometimes frustrated by the fact that you can’t find what you’re looking for. It’s not because it’s not there, it’s just the niggling problems of having to sift through the digital ocean of content. Then comes the organization and management of files and content that litters your hard drive. That could explain why your PC keeps crashing. You may need to upgrade your hard drive to keep up with your burgeoning content, clear out the spam from your e-mail client, ensure your software are up-to-date with the latest patches, and to top it all off, your home PC suddenly forgets how to read your office files. Day in a life of an Internet user.   

But I am obliged to remind you, that on the Web, you’re boss. You dictate how to consume the content you prefer. A good example of this is iTunes. Hardly anyone visits iTunes to download an entire CD. It’s most likely a song they’d heard on radio and then downloading that particularly song from iTunes. It’s the same with blogs. No one has the time to read an entire blog of an inspired blogger. I’m sure you’re only prepared to allocate your time for a particular post, instead of an entire blog. It’s funny isn’t it; as the range of choices expands, the less attention it gets out of you. The economics of attention, you say?

But that’s where the Ajax desktop offers to help. Think your PC’s desktop, but its online and more efficient. Features of different Ajax desktops may vary, but Scott Vine does a fantastic job of detailing the most popular Ajax desktops that are attracting legions of fans ( I would recommend you hop on over there right now to see what’s on offer and come right back after)

Okay Kevin, Sounds Interesting, But Will It Really Get My Sanity Back?

Let me put it to you this way. Does having all your content and information packaged in one centralized location appeal to you? If it does, then yes. Think about it, dumping all your data in one place and having instant access to it from any location on earth with an Internet connection. I would sign up for that. It makes more sense if you are an avid traveler. You’ll enjoy an evolving platform, one which encourages add-ons for a more interactive user experience (not every Ajax desktop supports this though). You’re bound to witness more integration with Web 2.0 type applications from word processors to widgets, inevitably creating enhanced functionalities.

This process of choosing content that appeals to you and organizing it in one location is only a sample of what lies ahead in a shift towards microchunking (more on this in a future post).

Its early days yet though, in the world of Ajax desktops. Using one now could label you a pioneer. But I reckon once you’ve tried one, you’ll never look back.

Possibilities of using Ajax desktops for businesses? I don’t see why not and as I mentioned earlier, these personalized start pages have not hit the mainstream market as yet. Only time will tell how practical incorporating these start pages into your business model can be. But, with the proliferation of social networking sites like MySpace and judging by the popularity of Netvibes, a marriage of both models can fuse a profitable explosion. The BIG THREE (Windows Live, Google IG & My Yahoo) are already in the game. It’s obvious they’ve sniffed out a money pit.

Watch this space for updates.

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