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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

WebOS & Beginning Of The End Of Microsoft Dominance

The Google desktop with sidebar is seeing rave reviews and lot of views are coming out as to how Google may move into the center of the desktop. Jason Kottke has an excellent perspective about the evolving WebOS segment. Excerpts with edits and comments:
Google’s browser was expected to be a sophisticated local caching framework included, and Google will provide the reference apps (replying to emails on Gmail or posting messages to Google groups while on the plane). With GDS, Google finally had an application that installed on the desktop and, even better, it was a little Web server that could insert data from your local machine into pages you were browsing on google.com.WebOS may refer to three main parts to the system:
- The Web browser (along with other browser-ish applications like Konfabulator) becomes the primary application interface through which the user views content, performs services, and manages data on their local machine and on the Web, often without even knowing the difference. Something like Firefox, Safari, or IE...ideally browser agnostic.
- Web applications of the sort we're all familiar with: Gmail, Flickr, and Bloglines, as well as other applications that are making the Web an ever richer environment for getting stuff done. (And ideally all Ajaxed up to provide an experience closer to that of traditional desktop apps.)
- A local Web server to handle the data delivery and content display from the local machine to the browser. This local server will likely be highly optimized for its task, but would be capable of running locally installed Web applications (e.g. a local copy of Gmail and all its associated data).
Aside from the browser and the Web server, applications will be written for the WebOS and won't be specific to Windows, OS X, or Linux. Compared to "standalone" Web apps and desktop apps, applications developed for this hypothetical platform have some powerful advantages. As these run in a Web browser, these applications are cross platform (assuming that whoever develops such a system develops the local Web server part of it for Windows, OS X, Linux, your mobile phone, etc.), just like Web apps such as Gmail, Basecamp, and Salesforce.com. You don't need to be on a specific machine with a specific OS...you just need a browser + local Web server to access your favorite data and apps. This would help the application developers to write just one appwith the WebOS. The user can run local applications and use them when offline as well. Eg could be Gmail, iTunes, Flickr etc. Anyone with XHTML/JavaScript/CSS skills can build these, but that depends on how open the platform is. And that depends on whose platform it is. Right now, there are five organizations moving in this direction – Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla. A truly different and exciting world is on the anvil.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"