Everyday I make an effort to uncover emerging technologies, how they can be utilized, and if I feel like they are sustainable over time. Over the past few years, I have made a serious effort to avoid shiny object syndrome and clearly separate the “me-too-regurgitation” from true innovation. Having an adequate understanding of the tech behind these entrants generally makes this a much easier task. However, it is impossible to predict additional factors like funding, strategic partnerships, acquisitions, lawsuits, etc. Regardless, every now and then, I will come across something I believe has the potential for instant disruption. A recent example of this is Webdoc and the only thing I question is if the timing is right?
Recently launched as a public beta, Webdoc is a dynamic Tumblr-esque platform which democratizes rich web expression. With a killer UI/UX, users are able to drag-and-drop pretty much any custom content without traditional limitations. Instead of building out applications from scratch, Webdocs can be cranked out on-the-fly in seconds with absolutely zero development skills. They have essentially dumbed-down the process and effort of creating a custom iframe app that will function almost anywhere. Coming fully equipped with built-in widgets from various partners (i.e. Google Maps, Slideshare, Soundcloud), Webdoc has elegantly established a growing platform for third-party developers to help drive innovation.
This is extremely powerful. Admittedly, I do have a bias when it comes to this considering I spent countless hours of my time over the past few years maneuvering the restrictions of Zuck & Co. developing custom FBML and, more recently, iframe apps. Webdocs can be seamlessly integrated into Facebook Fan Pages with a few clicks, giving anyone the ability to roll out custom landing tabs for extra stickiness. In addition, the Webdoc embed code can be shared and added relatively anywhere. I see tremendous value in this and envision the real potential impact for both marketers and consumers. However, will it be enough value-add to achieve a critical mass of evangelists, particularly with consumers?
One thing to note is that many developers might have mixed feelings about Webdoc as this may very easily create far less demand for some of their services. I’m very curious to see how existing players like Involver or BuddyMedia will react. Clearly, they have some catching up to do with respect to the experience as Webdoc seems to have nailed it.
The potential of Webdoc is exciting and it is a truly brilliant execution by their team from what I can tell at this point. I’d love to learn more about what sort of analytics they have built in to their architecture and what sort of insights can be mined for its users. I’d also love to hear a little more about their roadmap, the traction they have made with third-parties, and when they plan on releasing native mobile apps.
What do YOU think? Is it too early for mainstream adoption?