The Object Network
Apps and online services like Facebook take control over our data. This allows them to control what we can do within their "walled garden" worlds:
It also allows them to prevent us doing anything useful with our data across those apps or services. You are allowed access to clumsy, inconsistent and unreliable snapshots of your stuff via sharing, copy-paste and the export-and-import of inert files. Of course, what most people often end up doing is taking screenshots!
We have to have an account on each app or service which means they also own and fragment our identities. We often can't share our data in a service if the recipient doesn't already have (yet another) account there.
Finally, apps and online services enable mass surveillance and arbitrary censorship, both by them and by their governments. They can sell our data to advertisers and drop adverts or propaganda in our path. On top of that, a hack can reveal everyone's data, all in one go.

The Object Network has no apps or services!
Our data and identities are free and under our full control, hosted on our own devices, or those of people we trust. We alone decide who can see, change and delete our data.
We decide how it looks and behaves and share our data in its "live", active, animated form, not as inert snapshots.
Our data all have unique IDs so we can share any data we see through those IDs - as links. Then we can link all our data together by dropping these IDs into any other data.
We can create a seamless network of our interactive, interlinked data, hosted by us and spanning the globe.

App and service walls

Consider what you typically go to your smartphone for:
You'd check for messages, read the news and check the weather, do a search and read some pages, take a photo, find a contact then send a message and have a chat, listen to some music or a video, make a todo list, create a calendar event, work out a route on a map, use a calculator, turn on your living room light and set its colour, set the alarm for the next day. You may run up a game or 3D virtual world for a while. You may even actually phone someone on your phone, either on a traditional line, or over the internet.
But you had to go to 18 separate apps to access all of those things, all of that data, many of these apps with equally separate accounts or logins. All these apps and services work in different ways and none really work together, except by inter-corporate fiat out of your control.
Think of all the data that are trapped in these apps and services:
Contacts, friends, social network, lists of people; short messages with links and media, in lists; long articles or pages with more links, more embedded media; media and lists of media (galleries, playlists); todos, lists of todos; events, and lists of events in calendars; search queries; weather forecast for a day, and lists of them for weeks ahead; map tiles, map locations, routes; calculator; alarms, and lists of them; IoT devices, lists of them for each room, etc; 3D objects and scenes.
Now, there's no fundamental reason for all these pieces of your life to be split up and locked away, unconnected to one another. It's your life, not theirs!
But, we're all used to this model, so you may be wondering if it's really so bad. As long as you can share, copy-paste and export snapshots of your stuff (or take screenshots of it!), and as long as you keep logged in to everything...

Freeing data empowers everyone!

Well, the fact is, we're constantly being tripped up by this app and service model; it takes away our freedom and power to do what we want on a daily basis. Here's what you experience, and what you're missing without the Object Network:
You want to publish a Facebook post on Twitter. If you make it through the "share" menus and get to the Twitter app, all you end up with is a tweet with just a link back to your Facebook post! Well, to be fair, if you share a post with a video, you get the actual video embedded. But not the attached text in the original post. Maybe with an upgrade and some corporate agreement in the future these issues may be solved... What you actually want to happen is for the original post to be fully reproduced, with the text and all media. But of course Twitter has decided to impose an arbitrary limit on text length to their concept of a "post"...
In the Object Network, there are no separate "Facebook" or "Twitter" apps or services, with their own random constraints and corporate imperatives. If you want to post something somewhere else, it will still look and behave exactly the same as anywhere else. You just need to drop in a link to the post in any other context and it will be appropriately embedded there in its entirety. You could even drop a link to your post into a document or calendar event or whatever, and everyone reading that document or seeing that event in their calendars will see the post fully and properly rendered, with full interactivity.
You want to publish a Twitter post on Facebook. Once you've made it through the "share" menus you find that, unlike the other direction, this works quite well at the moment, keeping both text and media. You never know, though: if Facebook changes their policy they could stop this working at any time. Also, you can't be sure that Twitter won't censor the original post. Further, viewing the post requires waiting for all the bits (media, likes, etc) to be loaded in from the Facebook and/or Twitter servers. The only quick and reliable way to be sure people see what you see, directly in the context of a feed or thread is to freeze it in a screenshot! Of course, this loses any link to the original, plus any text can't be copied out and the media can't be linked to separately. You also need to take several shots of longer posts.
In the Object Network, you can be confident that cross-posting an item will always work, and that nothing will be deleted unless you want it to be. But say you still want to freeze the state of the post, perhaps in case it's edited or deleted by another owner. You can just create your own clone of the post and share that. This is easily done and replicates all the text, media, author, reply, etc., links and has a link back to the original; if the original is updated this is indicated in the render. It is now hosted and owned by you. Being hosted locally means anyone you share it with gets the full post loaded quickly, directly from you - maybe even over the house WiFi. (Of course, the same copyright issues exist doing this as with taking that screenshot!). This copy will be shown in full, embedded in the feed or thread, just like the screenshot did, only will be fully interactable with usable links and text.
You have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Gmail, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc., and in each you curate lists of friends or contacts. But even when the same people appear in several of those lists, there's no connection between them; you can't send a message on WhatsApp to lists taken from your LinkedIn contacts or Instagram friends. And if the service decides you're a bad person, they can instantly cut you off from maybe hundreds or thousands of people in your painstakingly-acquired social network. Everyone needs an account everywhere, but again, the account is owned and controlled by them, not you, and can be revoked at any time.
In the Object Network, you only have one identity to deal with per person. Your identity is yours to host and control. You can create any number of personas or profiles for different purposes, and everyone's profile can be simply grabbed in the form of a link and used in any context. Lists of friends, contacts or any other category of people are just lists of links to their self-hosted personas.
You have a group in Facebook for discussing country walks. Now you want to organise a series of meetups at various locations. So you decide to go with Gmail and Google calendars. Now you have to get an email address for every member in Facebook to send the invites. On the day, you decide to set up a WhatsApp chat group to co-ordinate the meeting. Once again, you need the phone numbers of each of the attendees. Someone in Facebook decides the activities aren't for her and leaves the group. You have to laboriously delete her from the mailing list and calendar invite, and remove her from the WhatsApp group.
In the Object Network, you only have one identity to deal with per person. And if you have a list of people, that list can be used everywhere, because of course, it also has its own link. So you simply grab the list of discussion group members to add to the calendar events and the chat group. When a member leaves, they are automatically removed from the event and the chat group, because they all use the same lists of the same people.
You are looking for a flat and there's an app with a map for that (Zoopla or Rightmove perhaps). You want to find your way to the viewing, and there's another app with a map for that (Google maps). You're meeting a friend at the viewing and there's a third app with a map, for you both to see where the other is, converging on the flat (Snapchat). Or maybe they don't have that app so send a snapshot of their location as a message. Each app needs a login, of course. You arranged the viewing through a trendy online estate agency who gave you another login to their nice website where there's a calendar to see the appointment. But you want to put the appointment into Google calendar, so you download the event and upload it there. After the viewing, you and your friend are going to a climbing club meetup arranged on Another login, another calendar. The flat viewing appointment is then changed, so you have to download another snapshot of it for Google calendar.
In the Object Network, there's no need for more than one map and multiple calendars, or accounts on several apps. Because you have direct access to any live events and locations through links, you can throw any events onto a single calendar, any locations onto a single map. You can see the location of the flat and the location of your friend converging on the same map. When an event changes or a location moves, you see the change immediately. No more repeated manual snapshots or manual download/upload; you never have to manually sync things up through export and import. All with one identity for you and your friends.
In order to organise your flat hunt, you need a to-do list. That's another app and online service, which requires another account to be created. You want to put a link to the to-do list into a chat message and a calendar event, assuming the service even assigns URLs to to-do lists. But to share it with your friend, she needs an account, too. And when seen in the calendar event or in the chat group, the to-do list is just an opaque link which could be to anything.
In the Object Network, you're able to link anything to anything - events to to-dos to chat messages and back again - all live, no snapshots, all embedded and interactive, no apps or services with separate accounts. So the todo is rendered right inside the calendar event or chat message that links to it. Your friend can even check off finished tasks right there, if you gave her permission. If you create an email-length message to her, including a link to the appointment, it renders fully embedded in it, allowing her to accept the invite. Then she can open up the embedded to-do list and check off items, making the to-do list full-screen if she wants.
You want to share a document, image, message or post to someone standing next to you. They have an iPhone, you an Android. You either have to research an app that allows this for both of you to download, sign up to, and see how easy it is to use, or else you just give up and send it by email. Maybe you had to manually copy-paste a paragraph, or laboriously download an image ready to send, perhaps because they'd only have access to the item if they also had an account. Then the item goes via servers all over the world and eventually arrives back in the same room again! Plus it's just a snapshot, so you need to send it all over again if it updates.
In the Object Network, everything has a link, so you simply share that link with them. Maybe it's a link to a message or post, or even a single paragraph in a document. Maybe it's some embedded media. When they access your link, the item is transferred directly, quickly and reliably between your devices, over the house or office WiFi - even if the original item came from the broader internet. Further, if the original item changes in any way, they see the latest version immediately - it's not a snapshot. If it's an item you want restricted, you may have to give permission to them to see it, but they don't need to create a whole new account anywhere, because their identity works everywhere.
Everything being split up into competing - rather than co-operating - apps and services means that similar interactions are done slightly differently in each. You have to learn each one from the start. You have to live with the limitations each one puts on the shape of the data you create. And within a service, they can add or remove functionality whenever they like. If any of these services goes down or goes bust, that slice of your life just disappears, reminding you that they control your data, not you. You only have access to your data via an inert export, if you're lucky, usually in some arbitrary, incompatible proprietary format.
In the Object Network, everybody's data looks and interacts the same everywhere. For example, you can collect events created and hosted by people all over the world and drop them into your own calendar and they all look and interact the same. All messages and threads, all people profiles, all galleries, all work the same way. There are no limitations on data over here compared to over there. The interactivity over, and the behaviour of, data is determined by open source code, so no functionality can be lost. If a host goes down or someone's device becomes disconnected or unreachable, its data simply freezes for everyone that had a copy, it doesn't vanish. You don't need exports of data that are already owned by us and out in the open for everyone (permitted) to see! There are no arbitrary data formats, only shared, common, open standards.

Our live data linked together without apps or services

The Object Network frees our live data from apps and services and gives us "handles" on it in the form of links that allow us to grasp it, embed it and share it. We can use links to wire all our data together in a global network. Anything linked renders and interacts the same regardless of the context in which it was placed; everything that is the same looks the same and everything always works together as you'd expect. We are in complete control of the shape and behaviour of our live data and of our identity and profiles. Everything is hosted by us or by a choice of hosting services, and data and their updates go the shortest route between us, avoiding surveillance and censorship.

Find out more

Discover how you would use the Object Network in your daily life.
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Duncan Cragg, 2021. Contact me