Was browsing through digg when I came across this, very well written article, WebOS roundup. I have been thinking a lot about web based OSes and when I look at these, it seems that in this whole web 2.0 hype we are starting to fly so high that we can’t really see why we lifted off in the first place. Let’s start from the begining.
First of all answer this question :- Why do most people choose an online web based email client like gmail or yahoomail over their desktop counterparts?
Yup. Portability. You can go to any computer, and more necessarily any operating system and you have the same interface. Everywhere. Now that’s the very reason web2.0 has had any success at all. Let’s be honest here. No web based software can quite match the massive amount of functionality offered by their desktop counterparts. Their sole redeeming feature is their portability.
After the success of so many web based software, the next logical step seems to be the development of web based Operating Sytems that would integrate these varied services into a unified interface. So we look at the endavours towards the purpose and voila! What do we have?
The OSes that I’ve seen all seem to refuse to understand the basic concept of web based services. Every OS has its own, overlapping set of features : its own rss reader, its own calendar, own notemaker…hell it’s never going to work no matter how intuitive and beautiful you make your interface!
I have but one question : Why would I not logon to gmail but go to your WebOS and use a low grade mail client? Why would I not use Yahoo! calendar and use yours? Why would I not use del.icio.us and your bookmarking service?
Give me one good reason and I’ll shut up.
I’m sure you’re being told by your business consultants and magazines that it’s all about marketing and PR. Trust me, it’s much more fundamental than that. You want widespread usage, leverage on the existing services. Give me gmail in all its benign simplcity, del.icio.us in all its innovativeness right here : on your OS and you can punch me in the head if you don’t get everybody on your system even before you know it.
All right. I understand it’s not that simple. The guys at google and yahoo! don’t want us to go to your Web OS instead of going to them. But if you think you’re worth your salt, make them come to you. When Linux came, software vendors didn’t give a damn. But when they saw us flocking around it, they couldn’t stop telling us : And yeah, we support Linux too!
If you can pull off the coup, you’ll have my money. If you think it isn’t worth it, you can bask in the prestine glory of your shiny interface, but you’ll have to excuse me; I need to go and check my gmail.