Is ‘Autoblogging’ the Next Big Thing?

Is ‘Autoblogging’ the Next Big Thing?

Mary Jo Foley

(from the 5/6/03 issue of Microsoft Watch)

Could autoblogging, a k a automatic weblogging, be the next big thing?

Marc Smith seems to think so. The Microsoft researcher and his team have developed a tool called Aura that is designed to help users automatically blog anything with a barcode label.

Microsoft’s Aura technology is currently in prototype phase. Smith says he is planning to release the code base via the Microsoft Research download page in another two months or so.

Check Out the Aura Portal Page

Aura devices will work a lot like the ill-fated Digital Convergence CueCat barcode scanner, but with a few, key exceptions.

Microsoft Resarch is developing and testing the Aura code on a reference platform comprising a Toshiba e740 PocketPC with 802.11 wireless support, coupled with a Socket CF bar-code reader.

You simply point an Aura device at a barcode and the code displays a list of Web links with information about the bar-coded entity. You select which URLs you want to view and subsequently can call up the information on your PDA about the entity in question and/or store the links on an Aura portal page for future reference and viewing.

Why would one want to look at Web links about Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal while perusing the supermarket aisles?

Smith offers up a few scenarios. For someone allergic to almonds, knowing the FDA recently recalled batches of the cereal because of inadvertent inclusion of nut particles could prove more than handy. Or say you are interested whether your favorite nonprofits are boycotting Kellogg’s for any reason, such as sweatshop labor practices. Aura would shed light on this, and more, at the click of a stylus.

“The physical world has a digital aura,” quips Smith.

And this time around, Microsoft wants to beat Shirley MacLaine to the punch in commercializing it.

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Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Microsoft Watch.