Cloud based services are so ubiquitous that it is almost impossible to imagine our daily life without these. These services range from web e-mail services like Gmail to productivity apps like Evernote to Social Networks like Twitter to Information services like I can count at least twenty different services that I use on a daily basis and probably hard to live without. I get tremendous value from these services, both personally and professionally. However, there is an ugly side to these services. Each of these services live in their own island and it is hard to go on to each service to keep up with it.
  • Isn’t it great if I can push my favorite Google Reader article to Instapaper for a later reading?
  • Isn’t it great if I can get an SMS alert, if the forecasts rain in Bangalore today evening?
  • Isn’t it great if I can move my personal tweets to my Gmail account for later reference?
  • Isn’t it great if I can get an email alert if my twitter follower mentions me?
What we need is a way to plumb all these discrete services together to create more valued experience.

Social Networks are traditionally focused on sharing of status messages and links. The focus of these networks was about sharing of all kinds, but not as much as about the Visual aspects. This focus has been shifting recently to Visuals. This can be seen in the recent growth of the Visual Social Networks such as Instagram and Pinterest. These networks put the Visual aspects in front and center of the sharing.

Some of the facts that support this observation:
  • This week Facebook announced to buy Instagram for $1bn. (Instagram has just 13 employees but has about 50 million plus users. Instagram works by providing several photo filters that can make ordinary photos / pictures visually appealing. After applying filters these pictures can be share.)
  • Pinterest has 12 million users and has grown 145% from January to March. (Pinterest operates like an online pin board. Pinterest allows to bookmark (called pinning) any pictures that we see online and share them on a board. Anybody who likes your picture can also pin it. Popularity in terms of Pins most likely to get noticed and drive traffic)