So what does all this have to do with Google? This suggests that Apple and Google within five years will be clashing in the center of this disappearing chasm. Apple and Google will each be trying to act as the spigot and control point of choice of nontechnical humans everywhere for handling the flood of digits coming onto home screens. Google will support its thrust through profits on advertising. Apple will support its thrust through profits on hardware. But they will meet in the middle.You have to believe that Google CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are working on their own mechanisms and interfaces for delivering more types of digital content, in easy-to-find fashion, on home screens. The Images tab is just the first inkling of this. The scanning of books at important libraries is another clue.Is Google losing sight of its core value? Click here to read David Courseys column. Their approach is to get all this stuff onto big honking hard drives and then let you search the drives any way you choose with any key words that come to mind. However, lest you forget, Google also is trying to figure out how to do what iLife does: keep track of important stuff on your personal computer hard drive and let you find it easily. Googles results have worked best with text. Google has yet to show its hand on how it will work with more kinds of visual imagery than still photos and illustrations. But you know a new, big thought is coming there. Conversely, Apple comes at the same problem of harnessing huge amounts of digital stuff by figuring out the end point first: how to best display and present stuff you contribute. Then it backs up to work through how it can help get you there. Next up for iLife will be a way to display the best stuff that comes in from the Web, probably tailored to settings you easily manage. Call it, maybe, the iNet portion of iLife. In any case, the two companies will be competing to be in control of the next generation of digital media life, when entertainment and information from in-home and remote hard drives, as well as broadcast and cable signals, are blended onto the same screen. Stay tuned. These are the companies that are the best at reducing the complexity of our digital lives into screen displays that are simple and inviting to use. They are the two companies most devoted to looking at the digital universe from the consumers standpoint and delivering products and services that play to that, effectively. Should be quite a dust-up. Let the fun begin. Tom Steinert-Threlkeld is Editor in Chief of Baseline. He can be reached at email@example.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.