The tech world is changing at a neck-break speed. There was a time when the idea of a computer in every home was laughable. Now, with the prices of the smartphone falling like Apple on Newton, a child from a very poor background might also have basic computing knowledge and definite knowledge of internet (the all-powerful source of information). I recently had that revelation first hand when teaching a few kids via an NGO.
This speed of advancement has at its head a ton of major companies that are software based. It should be remembered that technology is not just software or web but a plethora of things from AC, Fridge to Cars but as the leader in technology are software companies (Microsoft, Google and to a lot of extent Apple) the impact shows.
On top of this, the web has become the focus of entire tech world and for some time now. The internet speeds round the globe are increasing slowly but surely. In India we are definitely seeing with the price of 2G as well as 4G falling. Combined with Smartphones, there is a new ecosystem that has formed that comprises of PC, Web and the Smartphone.
And it has brought a new era of connectivity in which we expect and want synchronization. If I read a webpage on my phone, I want that to go to my desktop instantly and vice-versa. I am checking my mails and replying them as much from my desktop as from my phone.
Recently, I talked about the one quality of Amazon eBooks that shifted my whole ecosystem of reading (via Google books, Flipkart, and various other sources) to just one- Amazon. They got a sure client because of Whispernet and I am not the only one.
A similar trend can be seen across the board. When Google reader retired, many options came up. Some that are just in beta (Digg, AOL), some are growing up faster (Feedly) and some are self-hosted (TTR). No one is even talking about Desktop clients. There are some that are good but they do not matter anymore.
Similarly, Email clients are suffering the same fate. I have used many email clients and still use two constantly because of my work. But whenever I have to fire a quick mail I prefer to use the webmail option. I have found two advantages of this- One, this is quicker.
Opening chrome and putting in password is faster than the desktop client fetching the mails (If you have just opened the laptop). Second and more importantly, a mail sent from web is sent and you can instantly close everything. Anyone who has been at the receiving end of realizing that the urgent mail you sent 4 hours before has not reached its recipient because it was still in the outbox when you put your laptop to sleep.
If the bandwidth allows, I always prefer to listen to songs over internet than on my laptop. They have a newer collection many times and the option of serendipity which is not possible with my own collection (I have curated that after all).
Also, listening to songs on streaming is cheaper than buying them. I have music players but their use is for specific purposes- iTunes for my iPod, Mediamonkey for my old favorites and I think there is WMP installed on my laptop as well.
I can cite many more examples like photo editing, playing games etc. all is seeing a shift towards web. The reason is simple.
Web is always synchronized…
If you open it on your phone you will see the same thing as your desktop. And while as a rule, the apps on phone are generally better than the web experience on a phone, the same is not the case with laptop. This means that desktop clients are easier to replace than the apps by direct web contact.
Today, an app without a desktop client (with web option) is easy to use than a desktop client (with web option) without an app.
Desktop clients are now easily replaceable!
Google believes in this so much that they have an OS revolving around a browser (Chrome OS).
While web of course is the common point of contact where everything wants to reach, synchronization is the key here.
What do you think?