Over on a blog I operated a while back, I discussed the future of computer operating systems and how I thought that user profiles should follow you anywhere. Today, I started seeing reports on potential features for the next version of Windows, and one of those, listed on .Net Zone was the following:
Identity management is a major focus in Windows 8 as Microsoft wants to move from a machine-centric model to a user-centric one. Specifically, Microsoft wants to connect accounts to the cloud so that users could log in with their same account settings and preferences on any Windows 8 machine, Windows device, or certain websites. Applications and software licenses could potentially roam with the user.
Compare that to the following that I wrote on January, 2009:
Currently, when you log onto a computer, it checks your permissions against a local file, and then displays your desktop relating to that single computer. With more and more computers going onto the Internet, why wouldn’t you check login permissions based on a central server, and display the desktop and applications relating to that account, rather than that single computer?
While many people talk about an Internet based operating system, I think the first step should be an Internet based user authentication system that pulls the basic “display and organization” settings from the Internet.
Microsoft could implement something like this fairly easily. The advantage being that you would always have the desktop you know and love, on nearly any computer connected to the Internet. Also, if you were using storage space on the web, and had it mapped as a drive, it would be there waiting for you.
Lastly, while it might not be feasible to have all your applications follow you around, it should be easy enough to correctly implement the settings you use on certain applications that are installed on the computer you are using.
Say you are using a friends computer, and they have an FTP program. That FTP program is the same as you use at home. When you log into your custom account, it should poll the computer to see what software it has, if there are any matches to the software you use on your primary computer, it should drag the related settings to your account on your friends computer, allowing you to easily FTP into your site with any saved session data you may have at home.
Pretty close to the same idea, and probably will happen about as soon as I thought it would.