Software To Watch Over Me

What if you could get an electronic map that showed a bird's-eye view of every electronic conversation you have and everything you see on your computer in a given day? That's the concept driving a new branch of software interface work from Microsoft Research, dubbed Stuff I've Seen. In April, Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft's lab, showed off the new interfaces at the Microsoft Research Road Show.

It's still unknown which products Stuff I've Seen will appear in, but there is speculation that Longhorn, a future version of Windows, will incorporate it.

Surprisingly, the impetus for Stuff I've Seen is the huge growth in storage capacities in recent years. Rashid notes that a terabyte of storage costs $1,600 today but will cost only $400 in two or three years.

"A terabyte of storage can archive every conversation you ever have," he says. "With storage now at human scale, we can start to think about keeping track of all the things people experience, and all the things they see. This will change computing in many ways."

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