Saturday, October 27, 2007

Desk Set

Some time ago, I copied Michael Casey and talked a bit about Desktop on Demand. Since then, I've been playing around quite a bit with a similar application - Goowy. Goowy and DoD both operate as a home-away-from-home desktop environment, but there are a few differences.

Goowy does not run its own browser (rather it just runs in yours), does not provide anonymous IP addresses, and it doesn't come with a word processor. But what it does do is work. Goowy is easy to get started with, it's quick, and it does what it says it's going to do. It provides email integration, IM integration (with Yahoo, Gtalk, and other Goowy users), calendar, contacts (importable and exportable), favorites, an Mp3 player, and my favorite part, online file saving/sharing. The file saving is powered by - but the funny part is that it's actually easier to use through Goowy, and you get a free 1Gb vs. having to pay for 5 Gb when going directly through's site.

I admit that I have my "online life" pretty well set-up from both home and work and don't have too much call to use Goowy, but since I do work from home occasionally, I use the online file saving feature to make life easier.

However, I would love to offer a class on Goowy to patrons. Many of our patrons use the computers at more than one library, and I think Goowy would be a boon to some of these people. Also, I have found that the IM feature works on our computers - and even Meebo doesn't work on our computers, since we have chat clients blocked. Gasp! Am I suggesting a work-around to our system? Yes, yes I am. While I hope that someday we will unblock at least Meebo, in the meantime Goowy would provide a chat/IM option that doesn't interfere with our network and doesn't require a download.

A patron could also check all of their email accounts from the same place (we don't offer a tabbed browser), and even play their own music without having to have their iPod (or whatever) with them, as the music files are stored - and played from - the patron's online files. There's even a "minis" feature, which uses a number of widgets and sets up very much like iGoogle or Pageflakes. All from one window.

Desktop on Demand may have been one of the first to this particular party, but I have found Goowy to be infinitely more usable - especially on a public computer.


The.Effing.Librarian said...

so I gotta try this to see if it bypasses our filter...

The.Effing.Librarian said...

nope, we blocked it...we use Bess to block any site enabled with chat...

Michael Casey said...

Hey, this is cool! I am still hoping that we will one day be able to increase the number of computers in our branches through the use of modified thin clients (read: old computers) and some type of desktop like this.

Debra Cohen-Estes said...

How does this differ from the
igoogle personalized desktop?


Jessica said...

It's similar to igoogle desktop, but not completely. Actually, if someone had their online lives completely in Google - mail, modules, calendar, google docs - then Goowy probably would be overkill, except for the online storage aspect, perhaps. But, the average patron (That I see, anyway) that relies on the library for internet access is probably not all "googled out" like that.

I like Goowy because it's easy and the interface looks familiar. But they are a bit similar.

Rachel Rodriguez said...

Hi there,
I'm a children's author doing some research for my upcoming middle grade fantasy novel. It's set ~ 100-200 years in the future and I wonder what librarians think 'the library' of the future will be like? Everything from building, furniture, the librarians themselves, atmosphere.
Do you know how I might post/pose this question to an online community of librarians? I'd love to see what fun, creative details/ideas people come up with.
Thank you for any help connecting to the community!
Rachel Rodriguez