Lifeblog is a blogging application!

Yes it is, Ivan! 🙂

Granted, Nokia Lifeblog is foremost an attempt at a memory prosthesis, as Christian Lindholm explained in that interview before the launch of the beta version in 2004.

Gordon Bell is making a more thorough attempt, albeit one that would be unpractical for the Nokia Multimedia Business Group’s target customers at this stage. But don’t worry, we’ll get there. (See also Wikipedia: "lifelog")

The content you consciously capture (photos, video, sound, text) is part of that extended memory, as is the context information which mobile devices will be able to capture for you in the background. Both consciously created or selected content and less consciously captured context are part of our human memory, so the metaphor still applies.

As you mention, Ivan, content and contextual information is not all that valuable unless it can be searched. True, or, to put it in somewhat broader terms: real value is derived from all that information only when you start using it.

Now, this is where the onions come in.


Look at the information that you "own" (i.e. you have access control
over) as the layers of an onion.

The inner-most layer of the onion
consists of the thoughts and feelings which only you have access to.

The next layer may consist of information that you trust to a personal diary, for example.

Then there’s a layer that represents information you share with some of the most intimate people around you.

Another layer represents what you share with your extended family and friends.

Perhaps business partners or stakeholders, parties with whom you make certain transactions, constitue a further layer.

Peers, colleagues and acquaintances could be another.

And then finally there is the most outer layer: the public domain.

In information architecture circles, I believe this onion concept is often referred to as "distributed access".

SixApart really grokked the need that bloggers have for distributed access when they announced their Project Comet. I’m not at all impressed by what came out of that – Vox does feature a handful of onion layers, but the application as a whole is rather primitive, ugly, and cumbersome to manage.

Seamless integration will be the competitive differentiator.

Back now to Nokia Lifeblog. Sure, there is value in being able to
capture, add context, and search parts of your life. But the cumulative
value of being able to share particular parts with certain (groups of)
people would seem so much higher.

I want to be able to do all that with ONE application. Since Nokia
Lifeblog is already taking care of information closest to the core of
my onion, it could offer a very compelling proposition here.

Hence, Ivan, my intrigue where you say: "…but I guess with latest developments it just doesn’t matter anymore."

While venturing into the Internet domain, Nokia’s competitive edge
will in part depend on how well it is going to succeed in integrating
the User Interface of the device and the online user experience overall.

Some of the bits and pieces are already there, e.g. mobile devices
with text input, cameras, microphones, GPS modules and other censors,
S60 operating platform, multimedia applications including web browsers,
PC Suites, Nokia Lifeblog, WidSets, online interfaces via Twango and MOSH, deals with third-party services like TypePad, Vox, YouTube, and, most recently and importantly: Ovi.

In particular, a perfectly integrated user experience across the device and
Ovi, with all the bells and whistles of those currently separate
pieces (including blogging, onion style!), will make all the difference.


2 thoughts on “Lifeblog is a blogging application!

  1. Pingback: Google Circles, a.k.a. “This is where the onions come in” « SchuurThing

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