Microsoft Live Clipboard – "Wiring the Web"

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s CTO, had a thought for a new service about a month ago. Today, he launched it at eTech and through Dave Winer’s Scripting News.

The core idea is a new open standard, called Live Clipboard, which allows the copy and pasting of data, including dynamic, updating data, across and between web applications and desktop applications. Microformats for things like calendar entries, contact information, etc. will use common clipboard data formats. Ray wrote on his blog today:

Simply stated, I’d like to extend the clipboard user model to the web.

A few weeks ago, I approached my brother Jack – who leads a Concept Development team in my group at Microsoft – and visually sketched out and storyboarded some end-to-end user scenarios that I wanted to try to accomplish. The scenarios were all centered on this new clipboard user model.

The team took me up on the challenge, and in a few short weeks had accomplished all of the scenarios, and more. And they did it using techniques that are incredibly simple, and which work securely and are browser independent.

Today at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference, I’m sharing this new concept – through a brief demo and through hallway discussion.

I call this new concept Live Clipboard, because we view “live” efforts as those providing users with seamless end-to-end scenarios that “just work” by weaving together the best of software and the best of services.

The Concept Development team has created a screencast of a Live Clipboard demo, and a simple web page-based demo that you can play with. Hopefully this will convey more vividly some of what I’ve attempted to explain above.

Go through the demos and sample live page above to get a feel for how it will work. The last couple of demos which show piping of dynamic information across applications are mind bending. This can change the way we use the web, by associating XML feeds with chunks of content instead of entire pages or sites.