Microsoft is pushing it’s Windows Live services, and is attempting to get consumers to recognize them as a suite. The only problem I see is that all these tools are too separate. Even if all the services were to be recognized together, you get the problem of having multiple accounts. I myself have 2 different active Passport IDs, and I can’t remember how many I started besides these 2.
Yahoo wants you to use all their products, and so does Google, and AOL. I’m sure there are more, but I am not aware of them simply because they aren’t among the top companies.
I have a concept that will help solve all of these problems.
Left sided tabs represent each online ID desktop environment. The user can create additional tabs has he/she sees fit, of course. Each tab displays a desktop-like interface with desktop-like icons specifically available for that environment (ie. WindowsLive has Messenger, OfficeLive, Live.com website, Spaces blog site, LiveWriter, OneCare, Expo, Gallery, Local, etc.). Each icon/opened item can be dragged around freely just as if it was on the Desktop. Each tabbed ‘desktop’ also maintains the selected email/ID, separate from other tabs and the actual desktop. To handle this is a ‘sandbox’ type of behavior (I found some program called ‘sandbox’ that keeps incoming data from reaching your system, and therefore protecting it from spyware/viruses/etc). Each tab filters the data, coming in and going out, to prevent data confusion/corruption. There should also be an option to give each tab it’s own IP address for extra security, like a virtual router.
A user can have multiple identities in a particular suite, kept on and have full usage, simultaneously. For instance, I have could have 2 tabs for WindowsLive, one for each WL ID I have. I could have a YahooID, AOL ID, GoogleID, etc. all running at the same time as my 2 Live IDs.
The original Desktop could be kept offline, running offline programs. Another tab could be made for online games, or other programs you’d like to have Internet access with. This would give a computer user multiple Desktops, even multiple ‘offline only’ tabs if they want.
This would also be a useful tool for multiple users. A user could password individual tabs, and prevent children from accessing particular websites/programs/etc., not to mention user privacy, without actually having to sign out of Windows.
All of this behavior would be much more user friendly, and less confusing, to newbie users. Imagine that the desktop is ‘offline only’, and a specific tab, or 2, is for each users online access (for a family shared system). Younger children would be safe on the main ‘offline’ desktop, and have a tab for Disney/Nickelodeon ID/web access only. The teens in the family would have access to the same offline programs, and a tab with much more access to the net, and maybe the young child’s tab as well.
[edited: 08-08-07] I found a link to a new software being developed that can extend this behavior even more so for offline software!