Google and the Network Computer

[via Suhit Anantula] New York Post speculates based on some of Google’s recent hires:

The broader concept Google is pursuing is similar to the “network computer” envisioned by Oracle chief Larry Ellison during a speech in 1995.

The idea is that companies or consumers could buy a machine that costs only about $200, or less, but that has very little hard drive space and almost no software. Instead, users would access a network through a browser and access all their programs and data there.

The concept floundered, but programmers note that Google could easily pick up the ball. Already, its Gmail free e-mail system gives users 100 megabytes of storage space on a remote network providing consumers a virtual hard drive.

“I think a similar thing [to the got network computer] is developing in a more organic way now,” said Jason Kottke, a New York-based Web developer who follows Google’s moves. “People are ready for it. Instead of most of your interaction happening with Windows or Mac, you’re spending a lot of time with Google-built interfaces.”

I am not surprised. I see the world moving to thin clients and centralised computing as networks become better. It is what Emergic is all about. But I don’t see Google getting the hardware business and building cheaper computers. They would much rather focus on the existing world where PCs and cellphones exist, rather than worry about getting thin clients out. Google will build the backend platform for services which they can target to people via browsers. Who builds and sells the (network) computers is not going to be their business.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.