The slow birth of an ecosystem

Up until now, I have only briefly mentioned the future convergence of Google’s Chrome OS and Android but it’s a topic that deserves some serious consideration. Now is the perfect time to ponder as Michael Arrington – the same man who reignited the Google Phone flame on November 18th – is again reporting (rather authoritatively) on the coming Google-branded netbook.

The talk of a Chrome-based netbook is not new and there’s nothing particularly surprizing about this new post. The suspicion that Google would brand their own netbook has been buzzing all about this week. However, the article does give us some context by which we can project the paths of Chrome, Android, and Google’s myriad web services to glimpse their point of convergence.

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Of course, when I think about email, documents, collaboration, browsing, and organization in this light, I imagine myself running a thin client with all of my data residing in the cloud. It’s a nice thought: no more backing up email client profiles, no more publishing calendars to my local network server, and no more concern about losing hundreds of photos with a hard drive (something I recently experienced) – no more local data storage. It’s not difficult to visualize, as I have recently abandoned most local app solutions in favor of Google’s alternatives.

I’m using fluid apps for GMail, my calendar, and RSS. I still store photos locally but that could change. I have to say that I’m very happy with my new daily workflow. It was the transition that was difficult. All the more reason to start now. I want to be ready when I get my first Chrome device – even if it’s just a review unit. In terms of Google services, the switch will be a breeze. But what about media? What will I do with the big, bulky stuff?

As Arrington reminds us, Google’s Chrome announcement includes an indication of their intentions within the first paragraph:

“However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.”

Maybe there’s more to this cloud thing than communication and browsing. Google’s YouTube and Music Onebox are in place and somewhat ready to satisfy your audio/visual needs. Right now, Onebox responds to your query for music by delivering playback by one of several services, such as MySpace and iLike, under the Web tab of the search results. You may get a 30-second sample, you may get a video. But I think that this process will be refined by the time we see a Google netbook. I also expect that YouTube is looking at some major changes over the next year, though I’m not entirely certain what they could entail.

I’ve collected a fair amount of media over the years, as have most of you. And, like you, I hold on to it like a mother protecting her child. But if rebuilding a collection in the cloud were relatively cheap – possibly even partially ad supported – and meant I could forget about wired syncing and transferring files, I think I would be ready to let go of the past and embrace the future. Who wants a weighty catalog when all they really need are playlists?

With Android gaining on the iPhone and the rapid growth of Android’s public profile, Apple and Microsoft really might have something to worry about. I’m not the only one who’s ready for a change.

Via TechCrunch

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