Google Grabs the Web App Mantle
OpenSocial becomes more prevalent on the Web, with programmers using the APIs to build applications that users can take with them to multiple Web sites.
As an open-source project ceded to the greater Web community, this is not a key financial play for Google, but ties in to the company's push to get more users online.
More users online, as Google likes to say, is good for Google because that means more people will be seeing Google advertisements.
Unfortunately, at 100 million-plus users and counting, Facebook is and will be viewed as the premier social network. Facebook will benefit from advertising on its network.
Just as Google has shut Microsoft and others out of search advertising, Facebook will shut Google and others out of the majority of social ad market share. Microsoft, by virtue of its relationship with Facebook, may have an in here.
Google, meanwhile, will ratchet up its display advertising focus by selling millions of ads on YouTube, the premier video-sharing site. Google begins to eat share from Yahoo's display ad business. Or will it be Microhoo's display ad business?
After laying the foundation for Chrome, Android and Google Apps with a vibrant search ad business, Google becomes the dominant Web applications company, powering both consumer and businesses, thanks to great strides in cloud computing reliability and security.
Rumors of Microsoft's demise were greatly exaggerated. Microsoft's Web presence remains relatively small compared to that of Google. Windows continues to improve, and despite Google's and the media's attempts to lay it to rest, the OS remains the dominant desktop operating system.
Microsoft finds traction with Live Mesh among consumers, most of whom are leveraging it through their mobile computing devices. It's on-premise desktop software business declines thanks to Google Apps, but shops continue to use both Web apps for productivity and traditional Microsoft Apps.
If Microsoft has 85 to 95 percent of that desktop software today, it will be more like 60 percent in 10 years.
However, this might not mean much. By 2018, BlackBerrys, iPhones and Android smart phones will have gotten so advanced that they replace PCs and laptops both in the consumer sector and in some businesses. Windows Mobile fades, while PC sales shrink.
Ultimately, we will look back on 2008 as the year Google began to seriously derail Microsoft's attempts to create a major Internet presence. Meanwhile, Facebook and other sites will begin to challenge Google in ways we can't even begin to imagine yet.
One thing's for sure; our world will be a mobile one for work and play.