The problem: I have data of the same general ‘type’ spread across many web services and my personal files stored on my computer. For example, I have PDFs of books in a ‘Books’ directory in my file system and books from Amazon in my kindle. Or I have movies/videos on my computer, on the Play store, on Amazon, etc. There is no one place where I can see/browse my entire movie, music, or book collection across these services. I want a way to still be able to use certain apps and services while still maintaining a high-level view of where all my stuff is. For example, when I have a Kindle book, I want to still use the Amazon reader and all of its features, but for a PDF I may prefer to use OS X’s Preview or some other reader. I want a way to reconcile the fact that, for example, a ‘book’ is the type of thing I really care about organizing with the fact that applications like Amazon’s cloud reader want your ‘thing’ to be your entire library of books.
The file system is a solution: Remember the days when all of your stuff was on a single file system organized hierarchically? It’s not so convenient anymore to store all of your data in one place, and super awesome and useful cloud apps have contributed significantly to this. However, by using your file system as your primary view, I’d argue that most of your ‘things’ across can be organized again. One solution is to use file types that represent links. For example, in OS X these are ‘.webloc‘ files (just drag a link from your browser to the Desktop and you will see how this looks). You can double click on one of these and it will open up the link in a browser. Between apps on my computer and cloud apps, using these links covers most of my cases (e.g. you can link to a specific book on Amazon or to an album on Google Play Music). There’s even an app in Google Drive (by default using .glink extension) that properly handles .webloc files.
A natural extension to this approach is the ability to associate each thing with metadata (e.g. like a row in a database) allowing you to view your data in multiple ways.
In any case, using files and links to web apps seems to be a good interim solution to this problem (which first appeared as a G+ post).