I noticed today that Windows XP pretty much confirms that I no longer use desktop applications like I used to. The Microsoft Suite, coupled with a variety of Macromedia tools always dominated my oft-used applications list.
Now We see PowerPoint in there pretty much alone - and that's simply because I've received about 30 powerpoints to view over the last few weeks. Below that is word, which Windows defaults to for documents.
Other than that it's all communication (Snitter, Second Life) and management tools (iTunes, Picassa).
My previous need for applications has greatly abated by the growing options in communication and collaboration. Documents that previously would have been written in Microsoft Word are now blog posts, wiki entries, or shared documents on Zoho or Google.
This relates to recent conversations on the net about such things as the death of e-mail, the failure of search, and the ability of Microsoft to anticipate and change with a chaotic computer world.
The browser likely isn't the future of this new world - it is too limited. Web-assumptive platforms like Adobe Air or Microsoft's WPF / Silverlight are. Google raises the ante by moving it seamlessly to wireless.
Says the Wall Street Journal:
A Google spokesman said .... "Our goal is to make sure that American consumers have more choices in an open and competitive wireless world," ...
The company has said it wants to make mobile networks more open, so that consumers can use any Internet service and application and move their handsets between carriers without onerous restrictions. That's one impetus behind the Android software for mobile phones that Google announced Nov. 5, alongside a group of industry partners including Taiwan's HTC Corp., a handset maker, and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile, a wireless carrier.
Regardless of any business or monetization strategies by Google, the upshot here is clear. Google is preparing for a world of ubiquitous computing, which means mobile devices. Mobile devices means greater reliance on hosted applications and storage. Mobile devices, being primarily also communication devices (as opposed to computing devices), will be more logical for the extension of social networks.
Social networking's extension into this discussion greatly changes the adoption strategies for users. An open platform is the only alternative here. Any stovepiping by handset makers or service providers greatly limits the network for Google and, ultimately, consumers.
While I am admittedly an early adopter, my morning tabset in Firefox looks like this:
My suite has nearly completely migrated away from bulky applications like Word and Outlook. Gmail, Google Calendar, TypePad, Zoho, Facebook, Twitter, Platial, Quickbooks Online, SocialText and Yelp are what greet me every morning.
If my computer explodes or is stolen, I am annoyed but no longer destroyed. And that is liberating.
But it is not nearly the main issue. The social networking power of the online tools represented is astounding. With the social networks represented underneath each of those tabs, I seriously have tens of thousands of colleagues with whom near-instantaneous rich communication is possible. And this doesn't even include my second-tier applications like LinkedIn, other wikis (esp. Wikipedia), Mindmeister, del.icio.us and so on.
All available to me anywhere, any time, from any computer.
Yesterday, Ed Vielmetti Twittered:
And I responded:
And we had a conversation.
Ed pinged his network with a quick question. And his network responded almost immediately. It was a crowdsourced decision making tool. As if Ed Vielmetti has a room of fully 377 people who are just waiting for him to come out on stage and shout a question at them.
My reply took almost no time whatsoever. But in our exchange, which ended in Ed suggesting a map as a logical bridge between social networking theory and everyone else on earth and my reply that this was a great idea, we and the group ended up with a little nugget of an idea to play with in the future.
When the hell did Word ever do that for you?