Dotcom Web Services Commitment

If you want to see a funny juxtaposition of me and an earlier post's subject, read Leander Kahney's Web Services story at Wired News. Web services was a huge topic at Emerging Technology: it's essentially a backchannel method of querying a Web site's data store. So I can retrieve pricing and other information from Amazon.com through a lightweight XML transaction instead of a heavy, ugly Web page. Not only do I get more information, I get more explicit permission to use it.But my fear has been that Web services is a one-way street: you sign a license agreement to use the site's data a certain way or not use it in others, but you don't get a commitment (in these dotcom cases) in which the site promises availability, persistent, or other service-based agreements. It's lopsided because the sites, like Google, have the information, and we're supplicants. The amusing part is that I had the conversation with Leander standing next to Jeff Bezos, who might have been pointedly ignoring me or just oblivious of my existence (I worked at Amazon.com several years ago and was directly hired by Jeff). Odd to be juxtaposed in the story with Jeff while not having any human contact with him.