Elinor Mills of news.com writes about Stephen Arnold's "The Google Legacy: How Google's Internet Search is Transforming Application Software," (available for $180 from the author), which posits that Google is building a highly scalable platform for virtual applications and services (VoIP, Wi-fi, content distribution, etc.) on any kind of device. It's not an anti-Microsoft issue--it's about going full Net and moving away from the client/server desktop model. From Arnold's book promo:
Google's computing platform -- named the Googleplex by Arnold after the name given by the company to its Mountain View headquarters complex -- is a better (faster, cheaper and simpler to operate) computer processor and operating system than systems now available from competitors. Its price advantage is five or six to one over other hardware. Massively parallelized and distributed, its processing capability can be expanded indefinitely. As a virtual system or network utility, the user simply faces no need for backup or setup or restore.
Google has re-coded Linux to meet its needs. This recoding enables Google to deploy numerous current and future applications -- 50 or more -- without degrading performance.
Google products have the potential to be assembled into a version of MS Office -- including word processing -- and many other applications.
Despite the fact that Google isn't declarative about its intentions (or talking to me or others who work under the CNET umbrella), for the last few months, many have been speculating on Google's master plan. Examples: Jason Kottke on the WebOS, Om Malik calls it GoogleNet, Danny Sullivan comments on GoogleNet Broadband and David Berlind talks about a Google PC.
We are in the midst of a major shift, which will take the next five to ten years to play out. At that point we could reliably say that the Internet Age has arrived.