Your Browser in Five Years

The next big computing platform won't be Apple's Mac OS, Google's Android, or Microsoft's Windows. It's already here--and it's the Web.

It's unlikely that popular and widely used desktop software, particularly business-oriented tools such as Microsoft Office, will vanish completely by 2015. But the emergence of Web-based apps, including productivity suites like Google Docs and the new Microsoft Office Web Apps, could hasten a migration from relatively slow-booting desktop operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS to speedy, simpler browser-based systems like Google Chrome OS. Though Aurora may never become an end-user interface, it does offer an intriguing glimpse of a browser-based future that today's tech-industry players--via standards groups like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)--are working hard to create.

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