The death of browsers

About a year back in one of the internal 'prediction' wikis of IBM, I had predicted that 'folders' and 'browsers' are going to be a thing of the past in about 2 years' time. I in fact blogged about the folders prediction here.

Now after a year, I am still confident about the latter. However, it might take a couple of years for the concept of browsers to change.

I read a blog post today, which convinced me about it. Alex said in his blog,

“Detecting information in Web pages and handing that information off to other applications changes the role of the Web browser from being solely a HTML renderer to being an information broker.”

There is more about it here and looks like an interesting post.

This is radically different from our current usage of browsers. Browsers would be more like information harvesters rather than a medium to 'browse' information.

This is already true to some extent. Compare the browsers of today with the browsers of the past. If you look at the features of Firefox 2, you will notice features like Live titles, Live bookmarks, not to forget the widgets of Opera.

However, it seems obvious that end users will notice a drastic change. It is going to be a gradual change from the current to the future. And when the time comes, you will have browsers as standard Operating System applications (why were people criticizing Microsoft for making IE part of Windows?!) and a platform to connect and use the web. (Remember, usage of the web is going to be quite different from the present).

And now regarding the folders stuff. Well, that is not the point of this blog entry, however, I would like to conclude by saying that 'folders' in their present form have limitations, but there seem to be better ways of doing away with these limitations than doing away with this approach altogether. By the way, I am still looking for the day when my system is going to boot up and take me to secondlife and I work from there.

Predictions 2006

So what if the predictions don't come true? Afterall, which astrologer has made cent per cent accurate predictions? Here's my attempt at it. These are predictions about companies and technologies in the year 2006.

STATUTORY WARNING: THE VIEWS MENTIONED HERE ARE SOLELY FOR FUN AND NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

1. Google will get into serious trouble in the middle of the year, which may be a set-back for one or more of their web initiatives. The entire world has its fingers crossed. In a serious turn of events, however, Google emerges the winner with minor bruises.

2. Microsoft makes yet another attempt at thrashing open source. This could be either in the browser industry or with support for open source.

3. Microsoft releases the much awaited Vista. However certain features are not made available saying they are being finalized. It gets decent response.

4. Some major fight occurs in the open source community. This might result in one famous person losing his respect.

5. Yahoo launches 2 very powerful web applications. The response is really enormous initially, but the effect dies down soon for one of the applications. The effect of the other continues for some time.

6. RSS sees a major revolution in some form. It provides special support for blogs, bookmarks and becomes bi-directional.

7. Tagging sees a major revolution. It becomes more organized but maintains its simplicity. It is provided special support from one of the biggies.

8. Semantic web as usual is not able to make a major impact as 'the' technology, but sees application in some new industry verticals and silently continues its influence.

9. IBM, with the release of Workplace makes a major breakthrough in the collaboration space.

10. Apple releases yet another music device with advanced capabilities. The response is superb.

11. And last but not the least, there is some company other than the biggies that will thrive. There is a fight among 2 majors to acquire that company.

Wanna have fun? Make predictions.