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Blake Ross, one of the more high profile members of the Firefox team, has been quietly working on a new start up for a while. He has been successful in keep the wraps on his new startup, Parakey, but now it seems is close to revealing plans for his next big idea.
Ross and Hewitt had started the company back in February 2005 with seed funding from Sequoia Capital, and since then have kept a very low profile. In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, he reveals some details about the core offering of his startup he co-founded with Joe Hewitt.
Ross describes Parakey as a WebOS that does what a traditional OS can do. It allows you to set up a site that can be shared by say all member of the family, and can be accessed from within a web browser. In order to make it work, you need to download a small application that turns your local machine into a server. You can decide which part of the Parakey site is viewable to the outside world.
Best of all, the part of Parakey that’s online communicates with the part of Parakey running on your home computer, synchronizing the contents of your Parakey pages with their latest versions on your computer. That means you can do the work of updating your site off-line, too.
The offline availability of the web applications is crucial and Ross seems to understand that. [ I wrote about this in my recent column for Business 2.0, in case you are interested. ]
“We all know people…who have all this content that they are not publishing stored on their computers,” he says. “We’re trying to persuade them to live their lives online.” Ross wants independent developers to create a variety of applications for Parakey. To that end, he and Hewitt have created a programming language for Parakey that they call JUL, a mashed-up acronym that stands for “Just another User interface Language.”