The underlying services accessed by applications today are not just device components and operating system features, but data subsystems: locations, social networks, indexes of web sites, speech recognition, image recognition, automated translation. It's easy to think that it's the sensors in your device - the touch screen, the microphone, the GPS, the magnetometer, the accelerometer - that are enabling their cool new functionality. But really, these sensors are just inputs to massive data subsystems living in the cloud. When, for example, as an iPhone developer, you use the iPhone's Core Location Framework to establish the phone's location, you aren't just querying the sensor, you're doing a cloud data lookup against the results, transforming GPS coordinates into street addresses, or perhaps transforming WiFi signal strength into GPS coordinates, and then into street addresses. When the Amazon app or Google Goggles scans a barcode, or the cover of a book, it isn't just using the camera with onboard image processing, it's passing the image to much more powerful image processing in the cloud, and then doing a database lookup on the results.
Increasingly, application developers don't do low-level image recognition, speech recognition, location lookup, social network management and friend connect. They place high level function calls to data-rich platforms that provide these services.
With that in mind, let's consider what new subsystems a "modern" Internet Operating System might contain:
- Media Access
- Identity and Social Graphs
- Activity Streams
- Image and Speech Recognitions
- Government Data
I have great interests in areas like payment and government data. Those data can be integrated and make powerful services. For example, people can check how much tax they pay in very detail and see exactly how each tax is being used by a government.
I think it would be great if people can even decide, or vote, how a government is going to use "our tax". That is, you have control over the tax you pay. You go online and see exactly how much you pay what tax, showing "options" or "government projects" of how those taxes can be used and invested. And you can decide which project you want to use your tax.
People can submit ideas, comment, and discuss on how their taxes can be used and invested. Based on the reviews and discussions, people invest their taxes in the projects that they think necessary or simply they like. People are actively involved in government planning and budgeting process; people are more engaged with the government, monitoring more closely what they do. Public sectors also have to promote their projects to the public to get their budget. It will promote transparency and efficient use of taxes.
As more personal data is available and customization is possible, these services would be possible by integrating data from different systems.