May 22, 2017

Rethinking the Web OS from a User’s Point of View

When Tim O’Reilly and others began using the term “Web OS” (or sometimes Internet Operating System) to talk about the evolving landscape of companies and web services, I was skeptical.

I’ve been skeptical for a long time and convinced that it’s not going to happen on anywhere near the time scale that many people seem to think it will.

But I recently came across something that completely changed the way I think about the idea of a Web OS. Over on the Flickr Ideas forum, I came across a posting titled Flickr is NOT MySpace compatible… please make a javascript free “Badge”.

Take a minute and think about the language that Daniel used there. It the exact same sort of complaint you might have heard 5 or 10 years ago about a desktop application. “Is CoolNewGame compatible with my Mac?”

That’s what opened my eyes. I had always been thinking about a Web OS from the point of view of a software developer–someone who sees many of the problems inherent in making Tim’s vision into reality. And that’s even before trying to get users to understand what it means.

In fact, I never stopped to think about how, if, or when “normal” users might start to think about web sites (or services) in the same terms. I just assumed that would need to happen “later.”

Apparently that has already begun to happen.

Jeremy D. Zawodny
About Jeremy D. Zawodny 1 Article
Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny's blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

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