Microsoft’s Social Desktop

What would you name an application that marries elements of desktop functionality with the online file sharing capability of a social network-aided cloud structure?

If you were Microsoft, you'd probably call it Social Desktop. The new proof-of-concept applications from the software vendor's research arm integrates elements from the Windows OS and its Windows Azure cloud infrastructure to let users share files from their desktops with Web users via social networking.

Although Social Desktop is still in the early stages of prototype developement, the application promises to take care of such issues as data portablity, which along with security and privacy concerns is one of the chief barriers to greater cloud computing adoption.

Social Desktop merges a Web-oriented sharing model with the desktop and lets users share local files such as photos or videos as easily as they share Web links, according to the Microsoft Research Web site for the prototype. Users can preview desktop-stored files and add social context to them — such as comments, related items and tags.

The preview itself is a Web page with a unique URL, and users can store that on the Web by using Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud-computing infrastructure that is currently in beta. These files also can be accessed remotely using Social Desktop, and the application lets users search for other people's files as well, according to the site.

Providing users with greater Web experience at the desktop appears to be a favoured strategy of Microsoft. Lately the company has been intergating more Web-based applications into Windows. For example, with Windows 7, Microsoft is replacing the desktop versions of some applications such as e-mail, photo-sharing and movie-making programs with their Web-based equivalents.

For more information of Social Desktop, read the article: Microsoft app blends desktop and Azure cloud infrastructure

For more information on virtualization, read the following materials:

Four Thin Client Virtualization Models

PRODUCT BRIEF: Virtual Desktop ROI: Calculating Comparative Return on Investment for Virtual Desktops

Rethinking Virtualization Management Improves ROI

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