Since the Dawn of Marketing, companies have tried to get our attention. Tried to get in our homes. Tried to get in our heads. Intrusive bastards.
Then software came along, and suddenly we were living and working inside products in a way that we never really had before. I mean, sure you plough a field inside a John Deere tractor, but you’re relationship with that product is a bit more circumscribed than, say, your relationship with Microsoft Windows.
And then software became the portal to the Internet.
And then the Internet became the world.
And that made software our portal to the world.
Of course, there are uncountable interworking, siloed, and antagonistic software experiences for navigating this connected world. Apple is famous for attempting a high level of control of the connected experience with its products, but even that is pretty confined compared to how many software hoops must be jumped through in a connected world.
Lately, it seems as if companies want a little more, though.
Facebook Home wants to be our filter for the entire mobile experience, regardless of the device we use.
Xbox wants to be our filter for the entire home entertainment experience, regardless of our TV and set-top boxes.
And Google Glass, well, it wants to be the filter for our entire experience. Google was never one to think small.
There are a couple of ways you can cut this cake. Certainly, there’s something to be said for simplifying our interactions with an increasingly complex and connected world. But there is also something uncomfortable about everything we do reduced to data points for companies to sift and capitalize on. But we’ve always been willing to offer that for a certain level of returned value. Then there’s the whole danger of extreme parochialism where we can’t see outside the bounds of our own individual connected experiences. But we can be pretty parochial anyway without all that.
Maybe it’s just a matter of companies hitting that “right” balance between helpful doorman and manipulative creep…which I guess is to just give more than they take. Or at least seem to be giving more than they take.
But then again, when they are the filters for our experiences, “seem” takes on a whole new meaning.
I guess my mood today is “cynical” and “rambling.”