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Possible Crosscloud Application Areas

Anywhere there is multiuser software, there is some demand for crosscloud software. So what kinds of multiuser software exists? Here are some categories, with a few examples of each. In time, it would be good to see multiple crosscloud offerings in each category. This might be a disruptive upstart, or it might one or more vendor in the space adds crosscloud functionality.

To do:

  • add analysis about the technical issues for crosscloud versions
  • add analysis about business issues for crosscloud versions
  • add more links to crunchbase and wikipedia
  • validate against other software product classification schemes
  • link to existing or under-development crosscloud software

Consumer-to-Consumer Sales

Alice has an item or a service to sell to Bob. How does she let Bob know about this? Can she trust him? Can he trust her? What price should she set? What price should he offer?


  • eBay (1995)
  • craigslist (1995)

Crosscloud considerations:

  • eBay has a particularly strong hold, since one cannot auction an item on two separate sites at once. At this point it is also very well known and trusted.
  • There may be untapped opportunities for innovation, particularly with lightweight and mobile apps.
  • There may be buyers and sellers unable to use eBay, wanting something more like a cash transaction in their own country
  • The fact that eBay and craigslist both exist suggests they are each vulnerable. In general craigslist involves human communication, often face-to-face, to establish trust, while eBay encourages trust by making certain guarantees to the parties.
  • eBay supports faceted search for some kinds of products (eg ipods), but crosscloud apps could potentially bring uniform product details to every niche market
  • Establishing trust might be hard, but leveraging social networks (which were not online when eBay started) could help.

eCommerce Stores

Large vendors typically have their own systems or customize some existing software, but small vendors often use these marketplace sites.


  • Amazon zShops (now Marketplace) (1999)
  • Etsy (2005)
  • eBay buy-it-now

Car Sharing

Software lets people share cars and share driving


  • zipcar (2000)
  • Uber (2009)
  • Lyft (2012)

Home Sharing

Software lets people rent out parts of their home, long term or just for a night


  • Craigslist housing
  • Roomster (2003)
  • Airbnb (2008)

Parking Spot Sharing

Software lets people rent a parking space from its owner


The wisdom of crowds: who around here has good dim sum?


  • epinions (1999)
  • amazon customer reviews
  • yelp (2004)
  • foursquare (2008)



  • kickstarter
  • indiegogo

Event Registration


  • evite (1998)
  • meetup (2002)
  • eventbrite (2006)
  • anyvite (2008)

Event Scheduling


  • TimeBridge (2005)
  • ScheduleOnce (2006)
  • Doodle (2007)
  • WhenIsGood (2008)



  • match (1995)
  • eharmony (2000)
  • okcupid (2004)
  • more...

Collaborative Filtering

Given all the things on the Internet, how do you pick the most interesting or useful ones? Solution: let other people indicate which ones they prefer.

(overlaps with Forums and Comments)


  • slashdot moderation (1997)
  • google pagerank (1998)
  • stumbleupon (2002)
  • digg (2004)
  • reddit (2005)
  • facebook "like"


Typing (or sending pictures) to other people, one-to-one, or in small groups, with instant delivery and usually presence/typing indicators


  • Compuserve CB (1980)
  • bitnet relay (1985)
  • irc (1988)
  • ICQ (1996)
  • AOL Instant Messenger (1997)
  • Yahoo Messenger (1998)
  • google talk (2005)
  • facebook chat
  • WhatsApp (2009)
  • Snapchat (2011)
  • google hangouts
  • more... 1 2 3

Social Networking

Let the computer keep track of the people you know, and the people they know.


  • SixDegrees (1997)
  • Friendster (2002)
  • LinkedIn (2003)
  • Orkut (2004)
  • Facebook (2004)
  • more...


  • Memory games to help learn people's faces (as in facegame)

Social Media

Get news and features from specific people, typically friends and celebrities.


  • livejournal (1999)
  • blogger (1999)
  • wordpress (2003)
  • twitter (2006)
  • tumblr (2007)
  • instagram (2010)
  • pinterest (2010)
  • google+ (2011)
  • facebook news feed

Photo Sharing

Put your pictures on the web where other people can see them.


  • Shutterfly (1999)
  • Picasa (2001)
  • Flickr (2004)
  • Imgur (2009)
  • Instagram (2010)
  • facebook photo sharing
  • more...

Video Sharing

Put your videos on the web where other people can see them.


  • Vimeo (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Vine (2013)
  • Facebook video sharing
  • more...

Question Answering

Someone on the Internet posts a question, and hopefully someone else posts the right answer. Collaborative Filtering and a few other techniques help make it work.

  • (1996)
  • StackOverflow (2008)
  • Quora (2009)
  • more...

Forums and Comments

  • phpBB (2000)
  • Disqus (2007)
  • Facebook blog comments
  • more...

Multiplayer Games

Play games with other people, through the computer.


  • Pong (1962)
  • Empire (1973)
  • MUD1 (1980)
  • TinyMUD (1988)
  • Internet Chess Server (1992)
  • Asheron's Call (1999)
  • Second Life (2003)
  • World of Warcraft (2004)
  • Farmville (2009)
  • Words with Friends (2009)

Collaborative Development

Let the computer coordinate the work people are doing when they build something online.


  • Sourceforge (1999)
  • Hydra (SubEthaEdit) (2003)
  • Wikia (2004)
  • Basecamp (2004)
  • Writely (Google Docs) (2005)
  • Etherpad (2008)
  • Github (2008)
  • Google Wave (2009)
  • more editors...

Task Management

Keep track of what you need to do and what other people need to do


Crowdsourced Data

Lots of people know something about (some topic), and other people want to know it. Let folks see it, edit it, improve it.

Technically this category should probably be broken into subcategories like movie data, map data, lyrics, etc, with most competition inside the subcategories. Wikipedia and Freebase span the categories and may compete with the others.


  • IMDB (1990)
  • Urban dictionary (1999) and more...
  • Wikipedia (2001)
  • Freebase (2007)
  • Rapgenius (2009)
  • OpenStreetMaps
  • more...



Fitness / Health / Quantified Self


  • Fitbit (2007)
  • Moves (ProtoGeo) (2012)
  • Nike+ Fuelband (2012)

eCommerce Facilitation


  • gift registry
  • anonymous profile of the attributes you want the store to see

Home Automation

Although not traditionally a multiuser application area, with roommates or family members it becomes one.

Customer Relationship Management



There are often social information flows around people spending money


  • Billmonk (2009) - lets people split bills with other people
  • Mint - learns categories and reasonable amounts from other people
  • Concur - enterprise expense workflow

Peer Review


  • Easychair (2002)
  • OpenConf
  • more... including meeting support, and event registration

Meeting Support



  • IRC with W3C usage patterns
  • GoToMeeting
  • WebEx
  • Google hangouts

Humanitarian Response

Are there ways software can help coordinate humanitarian response to events, include natural disasters?

Scientific Data Sharing

For scientists building on each other's work, both before and after publication.


  • DataONE
  • ICSU World Data System
  • (some govt data is scientific data)
  • more

Democracy/Consensus Tools


  • Your Priorities (yrpri)
  • democracyOS
  • Loomio


Allow people to add comments on web resources or parts of web resources, independent of (beyond the control of) the resource itself.

No known successful examples.

Anonymous Personal Stories

Allow people to anonymously share with the world something very interesting that happened to them.

Story: Something very interesting happened to Alice. She feels like she needs to share the story, perhaps to get a better understanding of it, perhaps to warn people. She might not know why, it just seems important/great to share. But she wants to share it anonymously, to keep her life story detached from this particular story. Bob finds such stories compelling, so he reads lots of them. Sometimes he helps crowdfilter them, sometimes he gives thoughtful responses, sometimes he gives mean responses. Sometimes he thinks Alice made up the story; sometimes he's right; sometimes that doesn't matter and sometimes it does.

A comment moderation system that can handle this stuff well can probably handle anything.

  • (2000)
  • (2004)
  • (2008)
  • (2008)