Google Thin Client OS

Molly Wood thinks that “Google’s going to build a Web-based thin client-type hosted environment-slash-operating system replacement.”

Think about Gmail, which, in a broadband situation, is probably more responsive than Outlook; and Google Maps, which doesn’t show any signs of redrawing as you drag the image all over your screen. That’s the power of Ajax, which removes most of the server communication, almost making you forget you’re using the Web. Now think about what would happen if you had a word processor, a spreadsheet app, a photo editor, an instant messenger, a browser, a music jukebox, and any other “software application” running inside a Web framework that’s as fast and responsive as any desktop you’ve ever used. Now imagine being able to access that environment from any Web-enabled computer (or device), anywhere. Remember Bill Gates saying, 10 years ago, that traditional software was dead and that all software would eventually be delivered over the Internet? Well, I think Google was listening.

Google will not do the hardware: their users have PCs with browsers, with good broadband connections.

Companies like Google and Yahoo will aggregate consumer-oriented services primarily (I think) — their focus will be more on the desktop apps which they feel can be moved to the server with Ajax-like technologies (the kind used for Google Maps). What they do on the Net emerging market users will do on the LAN with the LAN-Grid because bandwidth will still be a challenge in the near-term. On both cases, thin clients and mobile phones (along with PCs with browsers) will be the access devices.

In the enterprise world, there is a need for information mgmt, collaboration, workflow and business process type services. Like the ASP model of the late 1990s. It will make a comeback but the focus will be on helping SMEs with the apps they currently don’t have: ones which can help them automate their business. These apps will be accessible via a browser and delivered via the Net – for a monthly fee. Like in the US. As they start using the apps, they will want more computers because that’s the key to building digital info flows and efficiency within the organisation…this is where thin clients come in.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.