Monday, January 29, 2007

Desktop is Desktop – and Web is Web – and never the twain shall meet! And should they?

The importance and role of the Desktop has been challenged recently by the Web, with some of the only-done-on-desktop stuff being done on the web, with on-the-web spreadsheets, on the web documents, on-the-web videos and what have you.

But would the Web replace the Desktop? No, not quite yet, may be never.

And here is why. The desktop world is about privacy and control, and the web world is about exploring, sharing and collaborating. Most of us build walls, called firewalls, around our desktop world to protect ourselves from the outside prying eyes. Our desktop world is our personal world, and the web is our social world. And yes, we would continue to want to keep them separate, or at any rate, would want to have to right to decide how much of our personal stuff we want to keep on the web.

Our information world, then, will continue to the divided into two – the personal one that is stored on our desktop, the one which is guarded fiercely from the world, with firewalls, intrusion detection software and anti-virus software and spam filters etc - and the other social one, the public information space that we inhabit and work on.

The same is true for the business world as well. Businesses will continue to barricade themselves within firewalls, put rules on who can access information when and where, and even, frame rules on what kind of web content can be viewed on their business desktops.

Does this desktop-web divide need to be bridged? Why should anyone require to bridge these two worlds? Because they are a pain un-bridged. Every travel done across these worlds, and it is done often enough, requires one to swap context, painful and error prone cut-and-paste, and is simply irksome. Clearly, this is problem which needs to be solved.

The Desktop and the Web - the time to meet each other has come!

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