Ray Ozzie gave a talk at ETech today, and he discussed an idea he had called a “live clipboard”. Basically, its a little script that lets you copy structured data from website to another, like copying a contacts entry from your address book and pasting it in an ecommerce site, with the live clipboard, placing the data in the proper form fields. Take a bunch of friends from Facebook, paste them into Windows Live Local, and get all their locations mapped out.
Basically, if you have two sites that understand the same type of data, its annoying that you lose the data because you can only copy text. With the XML-based live clipboard, if things are set up properly, you retain the data and get to reuse it on the target website.
I love the idea of being able to move data as you please, and getting websites to act a little less like individual islands. Obviously, there are some issues, like getting websites to use the system, making sure it works in most browsers, various security issues (like sites accessing the data without your permission) and making it work with as many types of data as possible. Still, I think its a great start.