Potholes in the Internet Super Highway

Credit See It or Not

On Tech Talk Back, host Erik Lanigan asked why so many developers where creating applications for specific devices as opposed to Web Apps (Which many are).

He also asked what happened to the idea of the Internet and browser as the operating system. Wasn’t that the goal?  That no matter what you used it would all be the same.

This is not the first time this has been asked.

There are some that see what we have now is the equivalent of OS, such as Tim O’Reilly. Others  see the “appification” of the web as the failure of the web development community to keep pace with technology.

With HTML5, many hope to see  the tide turn back to web application development.

I think the idea of the web as a giant OS with people using their browsers and plugging in websites like desktop programs is an enticing vision.

However, it’s not reality and may not be feasible. For one it would make a commodity of both software and hardware makers. No body wants t just be a dumb pipe for someone else product.
Secondly, who would decide on the technologies used. the W3C? some council made up of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Intel? I believe the need for consensus is one of the reasons for the rise of apps. Third, apps are where the money is.

The big impediment as I see it, is that the Internet is not that flexible. If it doesn’t make sense to put a desktop interface on a phone, then it also senseless to think websites work as well on a phone. The Web is not built around smartphones or for touch interfaces. It was built around the mouse and keyboard.

Yes, some sites try to make themselves touch friendly (Gizmodo), but the experience is not a good one (Gizmodo). which is why I think developers create apps.
Right now Google and Mozilla are both developing application platforms for web apps. Google also has developed a browser based OS based on its Chrome browser. Google also came out with a Web store for Web Apps that runs web based applications. But Google’s apps don’t work on Internet Explorer, Opera, or Firefox.

So the Web may be next operating system if not for the pot holes.

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