Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Programs, browsers and apps

This blog is motivated by an article I just read in PC Magazine, written by John Dvorak called "It's an App World After All."

Back in the 70's, using a computer means opening up a program that has been developed in-house or through a third party software developer. Gradually this evolved into using commercially developed and mass marketed software, which reduced costs and increased standardization and ease of use. This was Microsoft's golden years, as this environment was very OS-centric.

In 1984 when Sun Microsystem started the mantra "The Network is the Computer", it must have triggered others to take online computing seriously. Ten years later in 1993 the first browser Netscape emerged. Many years after that, Google successfully challenged Microsoft for the computing throne. Browser-based computing is now as important as OS-centric program-based computing. Through the popularity of its search engine, Google took computing to its next era, leaving Microsoft befuddled behind.

Steve Jobs made app-based computing popular. Apps, short for "applets" (and nothing to do with little Apples) is now gathering momentum. People seem to be more at ease with buying and installing apps, than on buying and installing "programs". Even browser-based applications like Youtube and Facebook are finding their way to computer-illiterate people when packaged as an app. I have no doubt that apps-based computing is the new wave of computing.

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