The original genesis of the idea for Touchstone came about when I was working on Web-Based Enterprise software back in the day (you know... Those Web 1.0 days?). The issue very quickly became apparent to me that if you wanted to display an alert like Outlook routinely does from a web-based CRM or CMS system, you were in trouble. There was no convenient way to do it.
So the question arose in my mind... "How can you alert the user to stuff".
Then other questions followed... "how do you build a unified alerting tool that worked for all applications - not just the ones I was making" and then "how do you keep the user in control of all this alerting without overburdening them with a rules engine".
The result is Touchstone. It's scope has expanded to handle news and content discovery and all sorts of other things, but at its heart, it is still a way to get messages from the web, to the user - on their own terms.
(Disclosure: Peepel and Faraday share an investor). At its surface Peepel looks like the newest player in the Web office suite marketplace. What it actually is, is a realization that online environments need to be platforms. Just like Windows is a platform for other software on the client-side.
In the diverse coverage
that it's getting today and over the next few weeks most blogs will probably focus on the office stuff. But I actually think the most interesting part is the environment that is being built out to support the applications themselves. Windowing, File Handling, Task Manager etc.
One of the pieces of that environment will be Notification. And notification is what Touchstone is all about.
"A document in your workspace has just been updated..."
"A spreedsheet you are monitoring has been updated..."
"Chris Saad has logged onto Peepel..."
So I look forward to see Peepel grow into its own and establish a viable platform inside which a whole range of applications can live - and notify - for the user.Check out Peepel