In a recent Wall Street Journal article, I read that Google is working hard to push adoption of the HTML5 standard, the next horizon of the language that basically runs the Internet. In HTML5, software developers and web designers can build more advanced applications that can run more efficiently – and in some cases ENTIRELY – on a web browser. Generally speaking, it’s probably part of a larger plan by Google to gain new ground and build users of Chrome, its proprietary browser. And if we’ve learned anything about Google, it’s probably something even larger still, like a wholly-hosted software environment on the web. (That Google owns, naturally.)
Among many aspects to consider, a major factor at play here is compensation. Software development companies large and small make considerable investments in research and development and testing and modeling. The payoff of course is in selling that code to consumers or business customers. What will the new compensation model look like if all software creations and updates report directly to the web? For users, could it mean not shelling out hundreds (or for most Mac designers even thousands) of dollars on boxed software? I think the Adobes and the Microsofts of the world (and their shareholders) will have something to say about that. Google has weighed in, and the battle for the new, new, new, new web is underway.
And what about the users and the user experience? Is the computing world ready for a new set of standards? The goal of pursuing an HTML5 agenda seems to be creating a web structure that allows all computers to run these applications on the web as easily as they do on your desktop. Sounds like a blessing. However, there are limitations to hurdle in the online environment. Simple tasks that we take for granted (copying and pasting text, for instance) are no small feat in a hosted environment. Converting software developers is one thing. Selling this to millions of finicky Internet users is entirely another.