Not Sitting Tight

Facebook continues to impress, buying one of the most interesting Bay Area startups, a company called Parakey that has developed technology for persistent web apps.

Persistent web apps are certainly one of the next big things. If the technology works, the web will be like desktop software. Imagine using gmail like you can use thunderbird or outlook on your desktop. Google is developing something called Google Gears that is similar. Google describes Gears as "enabling offline web apps".

Adobe has developed a technology called AIR that also promises to provide persistence to web apps. I am not technical enough to describe how all these various technologies differ from each other. I am sure there are important differences between them.

But what’s important here is that the web is going to be an operating system with direct access to your device and you’ll be able to use your web apps even when you aren’t connected to the web. This is going to result in a whole new wave of innovation. And that’s a big deal.

Back to Facebook and Parakey. I said Facebook would sit tight in an earlier post this week. Clearly they aren’t going to sit tight. But it’s also clear to me that they are thinking like Google not MySpace. They are building a big platform play here. And I just don’t think that kind of thinking leads to a sale transaction anytime soon.

The founders of Parakey include Blake Ross, who is credited with much of the seminal work on the Firefox open source browser. Parakey is also open source. So does that mean Facebook is going to open source its "social operating system"? I think so. Cool. Put your seatbelts on. This is going to be a fun ride.