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TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: Google’s Intent (Part 2)

September 6th, 2005 · No Comments

News.com thinks that Google has joined the battle to woo developers: Google is taking a page from Microsoft’s well-worn playbook for tech industry domination: Rather than just rolling out new products and features, the search giant is trying to win the hearts and minds of Web developersLongtime Microsoft watchers believe it wasn’t just the OS that made Microsoft the most profitable company on the planet. The software titan’s vaunted developer-outreach network created a rich “ecosystem” of applications that run on Windows and Office, its desktop application suite, driving adoption of the company’s core productsSome say that’s exactly what Google is now trying to re-create on the Web.

Om Malik had, earlier in August, speculated about GoogleNet: What if Google wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America? And what if it had technology capable of targeting advertising to a users precise location? The gatekeeper of the worlds information could become one of the globes biggest Internet providers and one of its most powerful ad sellers, basically supplanting telecoms in one fell swoop. Sounds crazy, but how might Google go about it?”

Jason Kottke expanded on a meme he has discussed earlier that Google is effectively building a WebOS.

This is my best guess as to how an “operating system” based on the Web (which I will refer to as “WebOS”) will work. There are 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).

    That’s it. 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. This is also completely feasible, I think, for organizations like Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, or the Mozilla Foundation to make happen.

  • Jason Kottkes post was the subject of a lot of comment and discussion around the blogosphere. John Battelle added: Jason ties together the Google Desktop (which he reminds us was launched as “Desktop Search” but is now just, well, your “Desktop…..”), local web servers, and next generation web apps and browsers. In short, he is saying, the Web OS is nearly here. It’s why Yahoo bought Konfabulator, and why MSFT is integrating the web into Vista, it’s Apple’s strategy too.

    Tomorrow: Googles Intent (continued)


    TECH TALK Internet Tea Leaves+T

    Tags: Tech Talk

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