A relatively new start-up called www.personal.com is looking to become a central location for everyone’s personal data. They provide the ability to host your data, in a structured fashion within what they term ‘gems’. These represent categories and subcategories of information about you, your family, car, kids, allergies, preferences, travel plans, etc. and you are able to selectively allow other people and applications access to your gems. The idea is that it saves you having to fill out forms, make lists and deal with all of the information that you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and you can share it with whomever you like.
One key difference to other web-based stores of personal information is that their privacy and security policies put you in control of your data. If you want it removed from their servers, you can ask them to delete it and they guarantee that it will be gone. They also look at this as a long term play as they believe that it will take years before people are ready to use this type of service on mass.
What do you think? Would you use it? How do you feel about a commercial entity having effective control of your personal information, all in one place? As one person put it,
“It’s a hacker’s wet dream!”
I’m on the fence on this one for now.