Cool idea: Google is designing a “Web intents” system for web apps similar to intents in Android. For those who haven’t used Android, “intents” allow apps to register actions they can take — such as “I can share (or edit) images!” — and other apps to hand data over to them. That way your camera app doesn’t need to know about every possible image-sharing or editing app you can put on your phone.

Now they’re extending the idea to web applications. There’s a JavaScript-based proof of concept, and they’re planning to add native support to Chrome.

Originally posted on Google+

Update: While it would have been cool, Web Intents never got off the ground. Paul Kinlan describes what happened.

To be honest, I haven’t used any instant messaging system much since college. But every once in a while I fire up Gaim just to see if anyone I know is on AIM or ICQ. I have a Yahoo account, but I’m not sure anyone I know actually uses Yahoo Messenger, and I’ve been avoiding MSN mainly on principle.

Sadly, it seems the IM wars have returned.

This time it’s Yahoo that’s blocked other clients from connecting to their networks. The most high-profile victim has been Trillian, another client which talks to multiple IM networks, but of course Gaim was hit as well. What’s interesting, this time, is that Yahoo claims it’s doing this to cut down on spam.

Now let’s think about this: In order to send and receive instant messages on Yahoo’s network, you need a Yahoo account, correct? So no matter what software a spammer uses to connect, he still needs to log in, which means Yahoo can control them inside the network. This is where current IM systems are fundamentally different from email: instead of many independently-controlled systems talking to each other, each IM service is one system with many accounts, more like a website with required registration. Place limits on what clients can do, and (barring bugs in your server) no matter what client someone uses, he can’t get around your spam/virus/hack controls.
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