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Microsoft's CTO envisions a Web-savvy clipboard

Ray Ozzie says Live Clipboard will let users combine structured information, such as RSS feeds and calendar items, on the Web.

Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie has proposed a way to bring the equivalent of a PC's text clipboard to the Web, a move he said will spur more user-driven "mashups."

In a talk at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego on Tuesday, Ozzie introduced a Microsoft project called Live Clipboard, which he further detailed on his blog.

The idea behind Live Clipboard is to let Web users easily move around structured information, such as user profiles, RSS feeds and calendar dates. Much the way a PC user has a clipboard to copy and paste text between applications, Live Clipboard is designed to combine, or "mash up," information between different Web sites and computers, he said.

Live Clipboard can support a variety of XML-based formats, or schemas. In a demonstration, Microsoft engineers showed how Live Clipboard can copy calendar information or a blogger's profile from an MSN Spaces Web page to a third-party Web site, such as Facebook.com. Rather than simply pasting the text on the Facebook site, Live Clipboard automatically updates calendar information with the right time and date.

Ozzie said he tasked a team within Microsoft, including his brother Jack Ozzie, to come up with a technical specification for Live Clipboard. The system is designed to work across different Web browsers.

"The goal is to create a standard that works across many different scenarios, many different types of Web sites and many different PC-based applications. In the same vein as , we're releasing our work under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license," Ozzie wrote.

He added that Microsoft will use Live Clipboard within its own Live hosted services offerings.