Here, I am arguing that Data is more important that software/access. Google controls ‘search’ data – but not enterprise data and also not social data.
The Google Chrome OS announcement does not change that
The trend towards the Cloud has been there for some time – for mobile , as early as 2003 with SoonR) but it is all catching up now. However, for local storage, you need a client footprint(and thats what I mean by the browser needed some form of ‘client’ and best bet was HTML5 which google functionally implements through Chrome as best as it can – and (wisely) does not wait for standardization!)
Thus, the arguement shifts away from PC vs Mobile and also from Operting systems/Browsers etc to ‘the classes of data’ (consumer / enterprise etc) and where they are captured, stored and edited – and how they are valued
As I discussed in The dark side of open: (lack of) Privacy – expect to see talk of empowering the customer, freeing ourselves from old corporate models etc – but the end game is always about DATA! and in that sense, apart from search – Google remains unproven
On my previous blog Winners and losers for Google Chrome OS , there were two questions (comments/twitter feedback)
a) Microsoft Azure is not covered in all this talk of Google Chrome OS and
b) What is the impact on mobile?
On forumoxford, we also debate the PC/Sub netbook/mobile argument ..
The two questions made me think of the following chain of thought
a) The PC/Sub note book/Mobile argument is irrelevant because ..
b) All data is ultimately going to the Cloud(i.e. becoming device agnostic)
c) In that sense, whoever manages the data will be most relevant not where the data is accessed from
The Value of data will be determined by
1) How commercially valuable it is(enterprise data)
2) How personally valuable it is(personal data like photos etc)
3) How easily can the data be accessed across platforms(Web Mobile etc)
4) Who knows the consumer(Identity)
5) How much metadata does it have(links, comments, tags etc)
6) Who the consumer trusts(privacy)
7) How socially available is the consumer data
(happy to add to this list!)
Now, I have always said that we need a client for the Cloud else the Chrome architecure is a sledge hammer to the browser . In that sense, I am a fan of Software plus services (as opposed to software as a service) and to me Chrome is an admission that we need software plus services
The enterprise data will likely stay with Azure(for all Google’s talk – it has not really made an impact on anything other than advertising(commercially) and the jury is out on many things including Android and Chrome)
That leaves personal data.
Capturing data is all fine and very much web 2.0. Storing data can happen in the cloud. But what about editing (ex photos etc)?
So, you need a PC for that – for sure. And it’s a long time that you can use a BROWSER to do some of the tasks
Also, Google now gets into PAID apps – which was indicated by a post from techcrunch last week (what the hell happened to the free version of Google apps)
And there are questions about open source .. Does “open source” mean Google expects the community to maintain the code?
The above implies that:
a) If data sits in the cloud, then the access mechanism is agnostic. So, Cloud prevails over web(as we know it) and mobile
b) If a client is needed, then Google Chrome OS and Azure are conceptually the same(software plus services model)
c) If editing is needed(and it is!) then the PC is still dominant
d) Mobile continues to play an important role but within the context of the Cloud(which spans web and mobile)
e) Whose Cloud do you orbit? Enterprises will continue to be with Azure, Consumer data may rest with one of many clouds(Operator, Google, Azure, Amazon etc etc)
f) And by extension: Which social network do you orbit?. That’s the real consumer question(irrespective of access mechanisms). That could make either facebook or twitter a winner in the consumer space or even the home gateway(the anti cloud – femtocells argument)
This sounds counter intuitive until you think that:
1) Google does not have a social networking presence
2) Facebook and Twitter have strong consumer identity plays The Web just moved and Telecoms just lost another control point
3) The social layer (like the cloud) also spans the Web and Mobile – so mobile becomes an access mechanism to social layer
So, to conclude – Azure for the enterprise and (Twitter/facebook) for the social layer will be the most significant players as I see it now. There is a possibility that a network Operator led cloud could also be a major player
Ultimately it comes down to:
a) Who people will trust
b) Who enterprises will trust
c) Who knows the customer
d) Privacy concerns
e) Who is more open (from a social graph perspective)
All these are DATA related concepts – which is the real issue. Hence, the belief that Azure, facebook and twitter(which relate to the data/social layer) are more significant than Chrome OS or even mobile.
Google controls ‘search’ data – but not enterprise data and also not social data. The Google Chrome OS announcement does not change that