The OS is dead, long live the Browser OS

Usually at the start of a new year, various tech pundits take out their crystal globe and after peering at it for a while will come out with their predictions for the future. Here’s mine.

If you have been following many of my blog posts, it probably comes as no surprise to you that my opinion is that the underlying OS is becoming less and less important(for the average user) as more and more functions are moving to the web.

An average user spends more time on the browser than in anything else. Here’s my Wakoopa data if you don’t believe me. Even though I spend a fair bit of time on development, it turns out I spend more than 50% of the time on the internet.

usageYes, you read that right. The blue stuff in the chart is time spent using a browser and you can see it overwhelms everything else.

So it hardly matters whether you are using a Mac, Linux or Windows, your experience is roughly about the same. This actually is the worst thing that can happen to Microsoft Windows and probably the best thing to happen to Linux and Mac.

Google realizes this and came out smartly with the Chrome OS with the stated goal of getting a user quickest from starting a machine to getting them into a browser and online. I am calling this the Browser OS, a modern development of the OS that tailors itself towards the function that most users are using. Quite neat.

This is still not ideal as some users still need to perform various things like interfacing with hardware etc, but I suspect that this will eventually be solved by still using the browser. For example, plugins inside a browser will allow websites to directly interact with computer hardware, so for example, your photos can get directly uploaded to the photo sharing site of your choice as soon as you plug it in into an USB port and so forth.

Believe it or not that day is not long off.

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