Looks like Chrome may be taking the role of the operating system. What with all those nifty net-based applications building up on Google’s home page. Google Docs is all set to take on MS Office, the features keeping increasing and the usability is improving (still a long way to go).
Once Chrome can deeply integrate with Google Apps — not unlike the way MS Office (and other products) deeply integrated with MS Windows — then we will be seeing the first steps towards creating a universal computer. One that just knows how to run a browser — and drive a network card. That’s all thats needed; the rest is on the cloud — applications and data!
Low power consumption will make it a preferred device not unlike the mobile phone. Talking of which, with the power that mobile phones are packing, phones will become computers (they already are) running a browser and using the mobile network.
Google (and others) still have a lot of work to do to create the rich user experience in a world of all-net based applications. Which is why Microsoft is pushing Silverlight so hard and Adobe with Flash. Google still has the Android-card up its sleeve, with iPhone stealing a lot of the mobile-innovation thunder, I guess they will wait a bit.
We are probably reaching the stage where consumer-centered design of services is a very distinct possibility.