Still don't get the whole WebOS thing?

I've gotten a bit smarter about explaining why there will be a sort of emerging web operating system to the people who inquire. For example, I've started calling it a "web services kit", instead of an operating system. Today's tech savvy minds can accept the idea of yet-another-SDK, whereas the idea of a web operating system is either tainted by the webtops or seen as inconceivable and unnecessary delusions to compete with Windows, Linux, or OSX.

What I haven't leveraged enough is the great summary of web service APIs provided by ProgrammableWeb. From their simple scorecard, you can get a quick overview of the categories of popular services and some of the key players. Ask yourself what sustainable advantage do any of these players have within their service space. Don't get fooled, it isn't an easy question. Keep in mind that standard service definitions are coming into existence for most of these services, such as XMPP for chatting and OpenID for identity. Take up the exercise to look across these service APIs, look for winners, and look for emerging standards.

Comfortable? Now, realize that it is only a matter of time before there are standards-based implementations of all of these services. Sure, it might take a while, but it'll happen.

If you are quick, you might be sighing and thinking to yourself, "what about the data?". I'm glad you asked, because that is really the point. These services are all about controlling access to data and looking for ways to monetize it. You might stumble over the idea that on-line office applications involve an incredibly complex pile-o-code, but then you'll remember that you already have 2-3 other viable choices of office applications to which you already had access. Over the long-term, it is all about the data.

Still don't feel like you're any closer to accepting the idea of a web operating system? That's okay, as long as you recognize the benefit of something that provides you with the capability to control and monetize access to data and some sort of well-understood integration layer back into your application. You'll come around when you start thinking about who you want to own your data.

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