While I’ve been traveling the last few days, I’ve found that I have been thinking more and more about the so-called "Web 2.0" vs. the more traditional "rich" client applications. Let me state this up front: I’m usually an old school type of guy when it comes to software.

I’ve always preferred real client applications that just use the network (and whatever protocols) as a way to enhance the app, rather than running an entire app from a web page. There’s just some software experiences that just weren’t suited for a browser, and most really engaging applications typically took advantage of whatever special features that were intrinsic to a particular OS (this holds true on both the Mac and PC) to really add zest to an app.

I’ve also always hated the nomenclature of "Web 2.0" and it’s accompanying blah blah blah. Look, this stuff isn’t new. AJAX and microformats weren’t just created – it’s re-branding of technologies we had for the last few years. Perhaps the only difference between now and three years ago is that WiFi is everywhere and a larger portion of the population has high speed Internet connections.

However, I came to another realization this weekend: The concept of the "exploding pc" isn’t centered on computers in the home being replaced by smaller embedded appliances, but to my data as well. For example, while I’m here in Cleveland, I was able to download some documents on my home server, print a few things to my home printer in Seattle, read my email and have my aggregator synchronized with both my desktop and latest feeds. Heck, I even answered several emails from my Smartphone. Not only was I able to remotely log into my home network, I was able to pull some shows off my Media Center and download them to the laptop for the plane ride home. And of course, I able to post some photos and videos for family to see from my trip, while I was still on it.

Now sure, none of this is magic. But it was like a light-bulb in my head how easy and ubiquitous this stuff has become and what was really interesting was that I could do all of this from both Windows and Mac. Platform didn’t matter for publishing stuff, nor did it matter for viewing those photos or videos.

Perhaps this is what Google already knows: The next killer platform isn’t Windows or OSX, it’s the network.

1 Comment

    J. J. (August 24, 2005 @ 7:03 am)

    Kottke asked similar questions yesterday. You might want to trackback to him.

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