End of the browser?

During a recent discussion with one of our partner, this one predicted “the end of the browser”, before two years, as opposed to the emergence of specialized applications like messenger, or Google earth. His point was that the crucial part was integration between applications, something that was in his view impossible to do using a Web Browser.

In a time of a complete renewal of the Web, I was a little bit puzzled by this remark. That’s true that the obvious evolution of messenger (or any other chat client) is a better and better integration with the rest of you’re environment…
So should we oppose loosely integrated “web application” to highly integrated local apps…
Not sure that there is an opposition here:

  • If it was possible to do Google Earth using a standard browser, I am sure that Google would have done it. It’s just a question of availability of the techno (in fact, I can predict that in two years, Google Earth will be available as a Web application).
  • The Web is probably the best platform for integration. In fact, it much easiest to share application between web app than to share locally, most of the time. And a good example is Msn messenger. The sharing (of information) is mostly done on the server side, not on the client. And it seems that the evolution of messenger and hotmail, is to a be a full web/Ajax based application.

So the Web is probably the best platform to do component integration, and the best integration tool is the Browser.
Of course, there is some need for some vertical and specific application, but most of the people do not really need it. The few specific needs can be solved by a “Widget” approach, similar to Konfabulator or Safari: still browser (ok, it’s not 100% the case), but this browser is skinned and just displays a single web page, but in a very good way…

Again, as stated in one of my previous post, “The end of the OS“, I think that in the future, the operating system might be a detail, as long as you have a very good browser…So I think that browsers will be here for a long time, see you in two years….

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