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Facebook Acquires Parakey's Web OS Platform 64

NaijaGuy writes "Facebook has purchased Parakey for an undisclosed sum. We have previously discussed how Facebook recently opened up development opportunities for third-party developers. With this acquisition some observers have noted that Facebook might be trying to become a Google alternative, by providing an application development platform based on Parakey's technology. Facebook's 'Web OS' has also been discussed, and the company has made headlines partly because of the fame of one of its founders. Blake Ross helped launch Firefox, and it was enthusiasm for helping less geeky users like his mom to thrive on the web that got him through the doors of Netscape at the age of 15. A recent interview charts how that same enthusiasm led him to start Parakey, 'a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do.'"
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Facebook Acquires Parakey's Web OS Platform

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  • Everything? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zeebs ( 577100 ) <{rsdrew} {at} {}> on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:38PM (#19935167)
    What about bootstrapping the system. I'll venture a guess of no before even rtfa.
  • ok now I *DID* RTFA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:50PM (#19935239) Journal
    at least one of them. Why does /. insist on posting articles with tripe like this (particularly amusing snippets in bold):

    Imagine that in 2-5 years time Facebook has become the No. 1 destination on the web. Facebook as a Web OS is the leader in online storage, online applications, email, blogging and of course social networking. How people interact with Facebook has changed; Facebook OS has absorbed Facebook F8, all previous Facebook applications work under Facebook OS, but they work more like Windows does today; Facebook has become your desktop and not just an internet site. The Facebook Paint application substitutes Photoshop, Facebook Email is a superior offering to Outlook, Facebook Office (Facebook having acquired either Thinkfree or Zoho) provides the market leading word processing and spreadsheet platform.

  • Re:Everything? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @11:49PM (#19935465) Journal

    From wikipedia (warning: I may have edited this just minutes ago):

    The idea behind it is to make image, video, and writing transfer to the web easier. He explains that the current problem with transferring data to the web is that in order to move an image onto the web you first have to transfer pictures from your digital camera, then upload them to a place like Flickr.

    That sounds like an ActiveX-esque security shit storm waiting to happen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 21, 2007 @01:29AM (#19935815)

    I think that's the point that most people here are forgetting; the average user doesn't know/care about PCI slots, memory management, etc.

    The "average user" can kiss my ass. Just because most people need anything technical dumbed down for them, does not make the dumbed down retard-speak the truth. I don't care who they're marketting their piece of shit software too, but if we're going to discuss it on a technically oriented website, we should call a spade a spade. These javascript/html/"ajax" abominations are called "web operating systems" by exactly three groups of people: idiots, people out to make a buck off of idiots; and pansy "web developer" Nancy-boys who are bitter that they get laughed at by everybody doing real development work.

  • Re:Google. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by appleprophet ( 233330 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @01:31AM (#19935823) Homepage
    I hope not. Is it just me or has Google become relatively stagnant?

    Take Gmail for instance. That was launched at roughly the same time as Facebook. Since then, Gmail has remained almost exactly the same. On the other hand Facebook has been adding features every other month and dramatically changing itself every year. The same goes for Google Calendar, orkut, Google Images, and virtually all of Google's products. Even Google Search itself is almost exactly the same as it was 7+ years ago (obviously they have been tweaking the algorithm.)

    What makes it even worse is that Google has armies of the smartest kids as well as PHDs working for them, and they double their workforce every year.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Saturday July 21, 2007 @01:40AM (#19935849) Homepage Journal
    Have you heard of XUL? All those things are possible today with a combination of XUL and HTML 5 technologies. Considering that Parakey is run by the fellow who started the Firefox project (Blake Ross), I imagine that basing his "WebOS" on Firefox technologies was exactly what he had in mind.

    Here are a few examples of these applications:

    ajaxWrite [] - Honestly, Google Docs is more usable, but ajaxWrite shows off how XUL can look exactly like a local application.

    CanvasPaint [] - An MS Paint clone done with HTML 5 technologies.

    Video and Audio support from the WHATWG specs are already in Opera and are expected to show up in Firefox 3. Apple is also implementing the tags, though possibly without default support for OGG. (You'll need to install the codec yourself.) In the meantime, the Video tag is being emulated [] by some developers by using Java Applets as the shunt. As soon as the video support is in Firefox, the shunt will automatically deactivate and allow the browser to take over.
  • by bitspotter ( 455598 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @02:49AM (#19936095) Journal
    At first, hearing this pissed me off. Now it just makes me nervous, after reviewing some of the old and new information (neither of which amounts to much, given Parakey's stealth mode).

    The number one thing that encouraged me about Parakey was that not only was it open source, it didn't fork over it's users control over to web services companies. Sure, Livejournal, for example) has its code released under a public license - but that doesn't stop LJ from locking in user data. Alternate instances of of LJ code son't interoperate, and I still can't make complete archives of all my posts, comments, and interactions on any social networking site. This is my life [], we're talking about - I don't want some company to have better access to it than I do.

    Parakey, insofar as it was described in the Spectrum article, did the right thing here by making the user's desktop the central archive (using open code, and open formats, of course). My life would remain mine, and web services would simply syndicate it from its origin under my control.

    From what I've been able to discover about the Facebook platform, it's not nearly as useful as the web interface is - there's tons of crap I've been bombarded with on the web pages after logging in, only a tiny fraction of which is actually accessible through the API. Given FB's dependency upon an advertising model, it doesn't surprise me at all that they want to hold my own social life hostage as a carrot to get me to use the web interface. Unfortunately, I'm not biting.

    So my concern is, has Parakey bailed on the user-centered model in favor of the service-provider-centered model? It would be a shame.
  • by TechnicolourSquirrel ( 1092811 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:24AM (#19936983)
    Why does EVERY successful tech company suddenly want to be your OS? Christ, even Facebook now wants to be your OS. I ALREADY HAVE AN OS IN FACT WE ALREADY HAVE HUNDREDS OF OSES SO STOP TRYING TO REINVENT THE WHEEL. I look forward to the day when the computer operating system is something nobody thinks about anymore, and instead thinks more about new operations to add to this system. We have an industry full of people falling all over each other to reinnovate the first thing that was ever innovated in this space, because they are all telling stories to each other that lionise those who take over the whole product. These are the typical developer's heroes: people who forced an advantage in one application into a measure of control over the system. Their heroes are not the people who just design one application that is incredibly good at some goal, and then continue to focus themselves on that goal -- these sorts of people are just not 'thinking outside the box'. And 'thinking outside the box' usually means making the "intellectual" leap to you sitting on top of the box, owning the whole box -- i.e. the only thing you will allow outside the box you are building, is you. Thinking in this way about every possible product is thought in this particular society to make one brilliant, maybe even a genius. For some reason, this type of thought process is no longer called by its former name: 'ragingly narcissistic megalomania'. No, now it proves you are brilliant and insightful, rather than just nakedly ambitious to the point that you see a crown for yourself (and little else) in everything. Watching something REALLY stupid happen like the best social networking app that has ever lived trying to remake itself into the shittiest "operating system" that has ever lived, proves that the tech industry's self-image is fundamentally broken, and we need entirely new models for what is a 'smart' engineer, what is a 'good' design philosophy, and what is a tech 'hero'. Because we can't continue to thrive with a million little Bill Gateses like this; that ship has sailed, my friends. And it's not even a very intereesting ship. In the future people will get about as excited about new OSes as they do about new plumbing networks. Trust me, people, in the long view the application is the heart of our world, not the OS. The OS is a necessary evil: if you could get rid of it, you would. This is rarely true of the application. Therefore, ultimately, applications will be removed from operating systems to stand out on their own (the opposite of the current trend, and what would naturally REALLY happen if there weren't current technical advantages to functional integration that are very specific to today's tech level). Most filmmaker's don't make movies in the hopes of winning a role in the design of film projectors -- because the two arts are entirely unrelated, so it would be a stupid, broken way for an industry to self-motivate. And yet this is exactly how the tech industry does it. Even my social networking designers, who are faced with the task of writing an app to manage the most complex network we know (human society), seem to think of themselves primarily as faced with the task of winning a seat managing one of the most simplistic network designs we know (binary logic machines). It begs reason! In fact, the whole thing is so stupid in a decidedly 'Hitchhiker's Galaxy' way, that I call for the immediate destruction of the tech industry as a whole, followed by the more logical apportionment of the design of tools in each field to experts in that field: so that social networking sites will be designed by wannabe sociologists, instead of by wannabe driver writers.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan