Social Desktop is a new Microsoft Research prototype that blends the Web and the PC by automatically creating dedicated online pages for individual documents, photos and other files — letting people selectively share snapshots of their hard drive’s contents. The Social Desktop application currently runs on the Windows 7 Beta, taking advantage of the new operating system’s file-preview functions. It creates a Web address for individual items on the hard drive and then automatically stores read-only previews of those flines online using Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud-computing system.
The PC user can then share the file’s Web address with anyone. The pages can be viewed using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology in a Web browser. On the Web page, people can make comments and post tags, among other things.