Is It Time for the Networked Computer?

Google’s venture into hosted software certainly has generated some excitement. (Information Week reported that the FAA Chief Information Officer David Bowen is considering skipping a Windows upgrade in favor of Google’s Web apps.)

Google is not the first company to promote the idea of running applications on a remote server rather than on your local hard drive. Oracle tried it twice during the 1990s, and failed both times.

“The personal computer is a ridiculous device," Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison proclaimed in 1999, predicting that Microsoft would yield to the Web application-fueled computer. Ellison called it the "Networked Computer."

Ellison's vision may not have panned out at the turn of the millennium, but technology, of course, has advanced a lot since then. Internet connections are faster and more reliable, for starters.

What’s your opinion? Are you ready to have all your application and data stored on a remote server while you access them through a scaled-down computer that’s essentially nothing more than a browser machine?

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