Firefox Kid Blake Ross to launch Parakey — this could be big

We first met Blake Ross at Silicon Valley’s Cafe Coupa more than a year ago.

As a teenager, the self-taught coder had been central to the launch of the successful Firefox browser.

When we met, he’d just co-founded his own company with Joe Hewitt, having raised seed capital from heavy-hitting venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. He couldn’t say much, but said his focus was on making the Internet experience dead simple for normal people, including his tech-phobic Mom.

Now we get a glimpse at what he’s created. Spectrum has just previewed his product, which will remain under wraps until later this year. We smiled at the writer’s description of Ross as a young Kafka — he does indeed have thick eyebrows. It’s too early too tell how his company Parakey and its product will be received, but the description is intriguing; it’s clearly aiming big.Parakey is an application you download to your PC, which effectively becomes your personal operating system. It turns your computer in a hybrid Web site-hard drive, where you can choose what to make public online and what to keep private. Everything else is seamless between the Web and your desktop, letting you avoid the hassles that come with downloading photos, for example, and putting them up on the Web.

Even though Parakey works inside your Web browser, it runs locally on your home computer, which allows Parakey developers to do things inside your Parakey site that a traditional Web site could not do, such as interact with your camera.”

…Everything you encounter while surfing online—photos, videos, tunes—you can drag right onto your Parakey page, end of story.

…you can manage your content quickly and efficiently, even if you’re off-line. Again, it’s not that you’re making your hard drive’s contents available for the world; rather, you’re organizing your Parakey site, say, http://dave.parakey.com, only some of which will be open for others to view. Whether you make your changes online or off, there’s only one interface (avoiding the Outlook/Hotmail problem); everything is ultimately stored locally, your computer being synchronized with remote servers whenever you are online. “You never have to care about the uploading process,” says Ross. “That just happens transparently.”

Matt Mullenweg mentions a dissappointing quote from the article, suggesting his investors are calling the shots, and resisting efforts to open-source the project. Ross responds that it’s a misquote.

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