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Monday, February 13, 2006

Ajax Desktops Try To Change The Rules Of The Game

As the Web matures into a richly intertwined ecosystem of shared content and open services, what some call The Web As Platform, some innovative companies are beginning to offer potentially disruptive products that leverage the Web's growing "platformness". Increasing in popularity in particular are what some people call Ajax desktops, or personalized start pages. Well exemplified by Microsoft's, but also by the likes of the popular Protopage and Netvibes, the interest in these online desktops is being driven by a confluence of factors.

Now, for those of you that haven't used Ajax desktops yet, they are a far cry from the HTML portals of yesterday. Yes, all of the new Ajax desktops do the traditional portal of work of gathering the content sources that interest you, from news and weather to your favorite blogs and bookmarks. But a number of things make the new online desktops a serious native desktop alternative that will increasingly compete with today's PC desktop, both on the Web and in the enterprise.

Value proposition for online Ajax desktops

One Stop - Centralized online consumption of content and services

Accessible Anywhere - Roaming accessibility from anywhere with Web connectivity

All Your Data - Easy integration of most existing information sources including e-mail, calendars, bookmarks, news, blogs, pictures, etc.

Engaging, Fun, Fast - Rich, interactive experiences that match native software

A Platform that Grows And Evolves - Open platform for in-browser third-party software add-ons ('s Gadgets and Pageflakes' Community Flakes)

Real Software Not Just Data - Increasing integration with Web 2.0 software applications like word processors, messaging, and wikis, plus rich Javascript widgets

Intelligent Consumption - Ad-hoc, decentralized, user guided content filtering and mashup creation

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