With around 6.5 billion people in the world, there is a good likelihood that if you think up something “original”, somebody else in the world has already thought of it.
Now, take the internet with just under 1.5 billion people linked in. Now, if you think up something that would be cool or useful (especially if it pertains to technology in some way), there is a good chance that somebody else has thought about it. And if you, like me just want to use it instead of creating it, somebody else has probably gone to the effort of making it work.
For a trivial example, it would be cool if I could have just one bookmarks folder for my Firefox and have this synchronised across all my computers (one in the office, the laptop, and the one at home). Do a quick google search and Bam – there it is… Foxmarks and guess what – it does even more…
Now, this has an interesting side effect. What about all cool things we could do if only I knew what to search for in the first place… I am subscribed to enough newsletters, websites and blogs (of course) to stay apprised of a lot of things that are happening, changing and being used in the world but that still does not tell you about all the cool things that could be done.
So, when I stumbled across this tiny (pun intended) little gem of a service called Gravatar, I was intrigued and impressed. It is such a tiny, simple, straightforward little thing. It also does just one thing, but it does it well. Now what it does it do?
It allows you to set a picture as your avatar against your email address and everyone who subscribes to the service is able to associate you with this avatar.
Why is this cool? Well, we just installed WordPress for our blog and it comes integrated with Gravatar and my user account was automagically liked in to the display the picture that I had set as my avatar. Cool!
If that is not cool enough – I set my mail account to link in to Gravatar (thats actually how I stumbled across the service) and anyone else who uses the service will show up with their pre-defined avatar on my browser.
All that needs to happen now is for Facebook to integrate with Gravatar so that when I change my profile picture, it will update my Gravatar…