I have been extremely busy with work over the past few weeks and have not been blogging as regularly as I'd like to. This period has unfortunately coincided with two developments that I regard as very critical milestones in the development of the internet: Ubiquity and Google Chrome.
Of the two, especially Google Chrome has created much excitement among my more technically inclined friends. But, not being a technologist, I won't be commenting on the technical aspects of the two, but rather, the reasons why I see them as significant.
I am a moderate user of computers. I probably spend about 4-5 hours a day in front of my laptop. Of that time, about 90% is spent exclusively in browser. In fact, my laptop at this point is little more than a container of Firefox for me. And in that context, my Firefox 1) knows more about me than any other application, and 2) has my almost complete attention.
Browsers have, until recently, seem to have not fully comprehended this issue. Especially Microsoft has forgone an immense opportunity to add a layer of intelligence to its dominant IE, not effectively following Mozilla's lead in GreaseMonkey, extensions, add-ons and finally, Ubiquity. (Here's how Mozilla had thought about Ubiquity. I would like to hear Umair Haque's thinking on this miss by MS.)
My first thinking on browser intelligence started with the thought that the browser would be an ideal platform for context-sensitive social networking. Now I see a much broader opportunity in the "internet as the OS" realm, and the level to which browsers will impact the development there. Of course, the natural player there would have been Google, and voila, we have Google Chrome.
There'd been speculation around what Web 3.0 would be about. I'll cast my vote with browser intelligence (and increased sensitivity to implicit context and insight garnered therewith).
UPDATE: Michael Arrington thinks Google is going after MS. MS has more than deserved it by blowing its IE lead. Fred has identified the three-legged stool that makes Google's future: browser, mobile, cloud.