I am one of the 58,000 Microsoft Bob users from 1995 and to celebrate 15 years I thought I’d write a fake news article imagining what Bob would be like today if released as a social network.
Microsoft Announces ‘Bob’ Social Network Based on Microsoft Bob
Could this be a Facebook killer?
Microsoft Bob, the toy operating system within an operating system, which debuted in 1995, is now back in a big way as a new social network. Although revolutionary at the time, the three dimensional software that let you store and retrieve files from an actual file cabinet in a virtual office room is regarded as one of the worst applications ever made after Windows ME. But this version of Bob hopes to change that perception and get back to Microsoft’s original interpretation of Neil Stephenson’s Metaverse by taking the house, rooms, and avatar to a new level. In the same way that you got to your PC’s desktop in Bob .’95, at Bob.com PCs are used like widgets to display RSS feeds or Facebook. In Facebook terms, your profile is your house in Bob. When someone is “viewing your profile” on Bob you will see their avatar in your house if you are logged in and there too.
How is this different than Second Life?
In Second Life there is a virtual world that you explore and create things like houses in. In Bob, the world is created by you building a house, liking a band, or following a friend. Each time you add something to Bob it gets a physical place in your virtual Bob world. Each user’s world will look different un layout, but the content of each unit will be the same to all users. For example, if you want to live next door to Ace Freely and he agrees to be your friend, his house would be next to yours, but from his perspective, your house may be blocks from his in his Bob world.
Because Microsoft is involved expect to be able to integrate pictures and files from your PC in Bob, which will use Azure and will enable sharing and collaborations much like the Microsoft / Facebook project, Docs.com. Also Bing search and maps will be used. Expect Bing local search to be heavily promoted as businesses get on board and begin joining. Unlike Facebook, expect to be able to buy things from shops you have added to your network.
Summary and Analysis
In the same way we didn’t need a layer on top of Windows 95 to use Windows 95 I’m not sure we need an Internet world layered on top of our existing Internet, but it would be nice to hang out with other friends in their avatar forms in some sweet man cave I built in my FRIGGIN mansion on Bob.