Open Mesh

Recently, I started reading a blog by Marc Canter - particularly posts on the idea of building an "open mesh." Some have described it as a unified field theory for the Web. I am always attracted to these open movements. Canter also runs a company called Broadband Mechanics that has an interest in this open mesh and open standards.

I found no article on Wikipedia under "open mesh" (that's rare), so this must be new.

Canter has a book called  How to Build the Open Mesh and he posted some thoughts on how big companies are building their versions of the open mesh.

But open mesh is apparently not Microsoft's Live Mesh, or what Yahoo! and Google are doing.

Google has launched OpenSocial and built Google Friend and has take a kind of leadership role in OpenAPIs. But their critics (yes, there are some) say that they keep the data to themselves and they are not wide open about providing APIs into social graphs or their Friend Connect service.

Open mesh includes OpenSocial’s APIs. That allows any software product to embed social features. As exciting as this is for some (including commercial interests), the idea of viewing maps that show my friends and what they are searching for, or what's on their calendar is also kind of frightening. Too much sharing perhaps.

There's a podcast Canter did with Steve Gillmor about open mesh that you can listen to online to get a better sense of what it's all about. I listened to it, but I admit that I still feel like a bit of a dummy about what open mesh means.

Here are some of Canter's own favorite lines from his book:

  • The open mesh is the on-line world of interconnected dynamic data sources (such as social media services or ongoing conversations) with static published content or media endpoints (such as a blog or media uploads) intertwined between BigCo platforms and small independent applications and services.
  • When you see something that’s common, that’s what should be a standard.
  • Open is the new Black.
  • Act pragmatic, but dream like a visionary.


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