These are my notes from the Simple Bridge-building session by Ray Ozzie.

Ray started of by talking about how he sees RSS as having the potential to be the connective tissue between web sites. The increased usage of RSS and mashups are part of a trend of building 'composite applications' on the Web. Although Microsoft and other tools vendors have done a good job selling tools to enterprises for building composite applications, it has been RSS and mashups that have brought these trends to power users and hobbyist developers. Ray believes the next step is bringing the power of composite applications to end users. He explained that this idea isn't far fetched given that UNIX pipes are a manifestation of composite applications surfaced at the end user level.

The Web today is primarily a bunch of web sites which act as data silos. Although there has been some progress made on the data interchange front with XML and microformats, we don't have something as simple and powerful as the clipboard for the Web. So Ray talked to his Concept Development team at Microsoft and asked them to implement a clipboard for the Web that was cross-browser and secure. After a few weeks they came up with a JavaScript-based solution which worked in major browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox. In addition, the solution was XML-based and harnessed microformats. They christened the technology Live Clipboard.

So how does it work? Basically when a user right-clicks on a special Live Clipboard icon on a website they see the regular right-click menu containing Cut, Copy, Paste, and Select All. However when the information is copied, it is copied to the clipboard as an XML document containing a rich payload which could be a microformat. This enables a bunch of useful scenarios such as cutting and pasting rich data between websites (e.g. events from Eventful to my calendar in Windows Live Mail) or between websites and desktop applications (e.g. events from Eventful to my calendar in Microsoft Outlook).

Ray then proceeded to give a series of demos of the Live Clipboard technology. The Concept Development team has created a screencast of a Live Clipboard demo , and a simple web page-based demo that you can test.

More information about Live Clipboard can be obtained from Ray Ozzie's blog post entitled Wiring the Web.