Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood and will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble and logical plan never dies, but long after we are gone will be a living thing.Lita Bane
Like many ideas, this one came from a minor annoyance. I was about to leave for work when one of my favorite songs came on Pandora, which was playing on my home computer. I had Pandora installed on my home computer, work computer, even my phone for while I was driving... but there was no way to resume the song on another device. Of course, I just waited to the song to finish before leaving, but it got me thinking. How would I build a service that could easily save and transfer states between devices?
I quickly realized you'd need some sort of centralized state switchboard, where devices could communicate and retrieve states from other devices owned by the user. After planning that out in my head, I envisioned this service could be even more useful if you could also easily transfer states and information between various services as well. As I expanded on my plans and began actually coding, the idea grew on it's own to what it is today.
Now, I'm working on building a system expandable to connect any resource a user has to any application they wish to use. I called this Project Maelstrom, representing how we'll operate as a funnel for all a user's data, resources, and information. The Maelstrom Network is the child of this project. I feel we're in a unique position to act as a trusted broker of information and resource access between users and third-party applications specifically because we are not a large corporation reliant on the ability to advertise to you. A large part of our value to users is that they know that we are never going to sell or advertise with their data; rather we will keep it safe from all eyes (even our own) until the user wants it to somewhere.
With the Maelstrom Network, we're going to make web applications act more like desktop applications. First class.
As a user, how many logins do you have online? Ten? Twenty? More? Are you worried about what applications have access to your data? Do you even know what data they have? Why does every new application need you to create an account with them, can't they share?
If you're developing a new application, how many other services should you integrate with? How do you easily prove a users' identity, without invading their privacy? Where do you get your data? If a users' information changes, how do they let you know?
If you've got a data source, how do you get it to other applications? What format should it be in? How can you promote your service when all applications are already integrated against a competitor?
These are among the questions facing anyone starting a new web project.
Project Maelstrom aims on resolving this by attempting to create an open network of data sources, authentication methods, and applications. Unlike many other competing services, Maelstrom aims to create a comprehensive network of anything required for an individual web application to integrate with the internet as a whole. Just the connections, nothing more. We'll create the network; it'll be up to you to use it. We don't want to get in your way by attempting to compete.
Through one interface, an application, web site, or data source will be able to concretely and securely identify a user and request information about them. There will be no gatekeeping enforced by the network - If you have control of a users's resources, you can expose them over the Maelstrom Network. If you want to access a user's resources, you can request access to them.
It's still taking it's first baby steps, but there's something you can do to help out! Visit the Maelstrom Network Prototype page and sign up for an account now! Test it out, kick the tires, create an app, try and break things. Then, contact us and let us know how it went. We're looking forward to your feedback!
If you are going to trust us with administering your data and personal information, we think it's important we make it perfectly clear what we want to deliver. This will keep us honest, and keep you informed. Our pledge serves as a guideline to how we formulate our terms and conditions and how we think about developing future features and improve existing functionality. Additionally, we ask that all third party applications operating with the Maelstrom Network be held to this pledge as well.
If you see us breaking our pledge, call us out on it and we'll do our best to correct it as soon as possible. If an application is breaking our pledge, let us know and we will attempt to resolve the situation.
This one is at the core of our ideology and is our most important pledge to you. We'll never wilfully mislead you or lie to you about our intentions. We will not intentionally engage in 'shady' tactics, such as deceptive user experiences or hidden opt-out actions, in order to subvert your decisions.
We will never try and hide vital information from you. We will always make it perfectly clear where your protected resources, such as data or money, are going at all times. If something goes wrong, we will attempt to inform affected parties and correct our failure as quickly as we can rather than hoping you won't notice.
We will never disburse your private, individual information to third party interests without your express permission. We will relay your information to third parties as quickly and reliably as we can when you so desire, and keep it a secret when you do not. We will constantly strive to keep the service available with minimal interruptions. We will do all we can to protect your resources from malicious third-party applications or hackers.
We respect people's right to disagree. We will, in general, allow any user or third party to access the service regardless of race, gender identification, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, political affiliation, income, or background. However, we do reserve the right to restrict or prevent access to our Network by parties that advocate or participate in any of the following, whether on or off our service: