I’ve been very interested in following the Web2.0 discussions lately. I think we’re at the cusp of some rather large changes for computing and the internet. I wholely believe that in 2 years we’re going to see a significat portion of applications moved to the internet. Sun’s mantra that the network is the computer will finally be realized. There’s been some naysayers, but the advantages for the user and the supplier are just too large to ignore.
Updates and maintanence become orders of magnitude easier. You update central servers and all users are automatically updated. Companies will have to think ahead on apis though to make sure that changes are not too harsh on users that have grown accustomed to the way things work.
Web based apps just simplify the way things work. The user just has to open a browser and go to the right place. It also makes it much easier for companies supporting a large number of desktops. The number of applications on those desktops will drop as adoption increases.
One of the major issues lingering though is the matter of trust. Most people don’t have a whole lot of trust for other corporations, and they shouldn’t. However, running core applications on the web means that there needs to be a level of trust generated between the two parties. Not only that the company will keep and use the user’s data in a trusted manner, but also that they will available when the user needs them.
There’s a default lack of trust for most users right now, but as more of these applications arrive the barrier for attaining this trust will become more realistic. The trust should be based on the company’s ability to serve the user and not on a fear of the unknown. Several years ago, most people would not have done anything with online banking, but the pros just overwhelmed the cons and it became mainstream.
I believe that Microsoft’s announcement that they are going to have a “Window’s Live” and “Office Live” and push users to use the new services will open the door for other companies to create these web based business applications. Microsoft’s announcement will bring the idea that it’s alright to run applications on the web to the mainstream consciousness.