05 April 2006

Shifting Gears: From Applications to Services

In "Software Out There", John Markoff, from the New York Times, describes how the web has been evolving into a vast array of online services as opposed to desktop applications. When mainstream media finally notices established trends, governments and corporations are more likely to follow suit, especially when considering such priceless quotes (from John's article):
Mr. Ozzie, who used the Firefox browser (an open-source rival to Internet Explorer) during his demonstration, said, "I'm pretty pumped up with the potential for R.S.S. to be the DNA for wiring the Web."

He was referring to Really Simple Syndication, an increasingly popular, free standard used for Internet publishing. Mr. Ozzie's statement was remarkable for a chief technical officer whose company has just spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars investing in a proprietary alternative referred to as .Net.

As posted earlier in The Death of Enteprise Software, John correctly predicts the migration of monolithic desktop and corporate client-server based applications to web based services:
As a result, computer industry innovation is rapidly becoming decentralized. In the place of large, intricate and self-contained programs like Microsoft Word, written and maintained by armies of programmers, smaller companies, with just a handful of developers, are now producing pioneering software and Web-based services. These new services can be delivered directly to PC's or even to cellphones.
John's article also covers (briefly) a few other Web 2.0 technologies such as Ajax.

Reading his article, I discovered the following services:
  • WINKSite. From their site: "In minutes, you can set-up a free mobile site that's available worldwide on any web-enabled phone, PDA or desktop PC. Each mobile site is outfitted with easy-to-use mobile channels including chat, blog, mobile feed reader, surveys, journal, forum, calendar, guestbook, bookmarks, email and more."
  • CastingWords. Human transcription services for audio files, 42 cents a minute. Interesting service for podcasters. Je me demande si ce type de service existe en fran├žais!
  • Amazon S3. Storage service for developers priced at 15 cents per GB used per month plus 20 cents per GB of data transferred.