I’ve seen the future, and it is Google

The more I play with, er, I mean use, my new droid, the more I’m convinced Google might just pull it off. Pull what off, you ask? A web-centric, cloud-dwelling, device-hopping, browser-based future of computing. It’s been talked about for a long time, and I’ve been one of the most cynical skeptics, but Google might just have a shot at getting the necessary pieces in place.

The droid I’m typing (tapping? texting? thumbing?) this on, or any other Android-based, GPS-enabled smart phone for that matter, is one piece. Their Chrome browser-like operating system will be another. But the necessary glue that makes the whole thing click is Google’s massively-indexed, near realtime, ubiquitous web search capability.

I’m still not convinced that we’ll be at a point anytime soon where we can all ditch our local apps and data. I’m a huge fan of open source tools like OpenOffice, the Gimp, Inkscape, and Scribus, and I can’t yet envision a time when a browser-based document or image processing app will ever provide the richness or power of those PC-based apps. But I’m more and more convinced now that we’ll very quickly be at a point where the majority of tasks for the majority of users could be handled with Google’s brave new web-based paradigm. And when they release their Chrome OS later this year (hopefully), I think we’ll be still one step closer to realizing the potential of that paradigm.

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