Whatever happened to…
Back when Apple launched Facetime in summer 2010, [Steve Jobs himself said on stage](www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1edQuxclUs&t=1h36m45s) “We’re going to take it all the way. We’re going the the standards bodies, starting tomorrow, and we’re going to make FaceTime an open industry standard.”
Now, a year and a half later, what happened?
Apple has not released technical specifications for FaceTime.
No standards body has ratified FaceTime as an open standard.
Apple has been deafly silent on the matter ever since #wwdc2010 when it was launched.
Back when Google purchased Freebase in July 2010, Freebase posted on it’s blog
“Whoah… what’s going to happen to Freebase?” you might ask. Well, we’re also extremely pleased to be able to say “nothing”…. or rather, nothing other than getting better, and yes, even more open.
Unfortunately, that about sums it up. Nothing has happened to Freebase at all in the past year and a half.
The most recent post on the Freebase blog was posted well over a year ago.
Since then, they have open sourced some of their technology and mostly faded into obscurity.
We’ve seen this movie before. We remember how it ends.
Project Gutenburg has been digitizing public domain books for 40 years!
To put that into perspective, next year will be the 30th anniversary of the Internet Protocol Suite, which the internet as we know it is built upon.
So, that’s all pretty cool.
I am curious, however, about the role a plain text, free library plays in a world of closed ecosystems like Kindle, iBooks, or Nook.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that many (most?) Project Gutenburg titles are avaliable for purchase from many of these digital bookstores, but purchasing a title kind of underminds the idea of having a free library of public domain works. Wouldn’t you agree?
Will Project Gutenburg stay relevant for the next 40 years, or will it fade into obscuity as more content is only avaliable inside the walls of one’s chosen ebook platform?
I’m not trying to pick on anybody
I am a fan of all three of the projects I’ve mentioned.
I want, very much, to see them all grow and mature for a long time to come.
In all three, I see quite a bit of untapped potential. It would be a shame if any of them never moved past their current stage.