Give up our software tools for Web 2.0?

While there are many features I love about the Web 2.0 model, I don’t find the tools are quite capable to replace my productivity tools just yet. But the idea is intriguing: are the capabilities becoming advanced enough for users to consider switching over? If not now, when does it become compelling?

While it is easy to dismiss these tools as too limited to replace the desktop software model, one must also consider that users needs constantly. It is easy to look at the use of our productivity tools based on our past use of technology, but this view can become static and irrelevant quickly. New needs and capabilities arise that the older tools cannot necessarily address–at least not very quickly. It is contingent on technology leaders to continually keep a pulse on these changing user needs along with the continually expanding capabilities of the Web 2.0 tools. When considering both factors together, it gets harder to dismiss the tools.

One interesting article challenges that the time is getting close. While I am not a full believer in all the author suggest, I find he makes some interesting and convincing points about problems with our current model of computing and why that compels us to look closer at using the Web 2.0 model.

Zoli’s Blog :: Desktop Software: A Failed Model

…So where are we? Performance issues, overload of patches, need to become one’s IT support: these are all signs of a failed model: installing and updating software on the desktop… It’s nice to see even the absolute Office 2.0 proponents to have come around and realize the importance of offline access. Seamless computing for a while will require online/offline access.

We’re clearly not there yet. However, I feel we’ve passed a tipping point: while 2 years ago the ideal mix would have been desktop computing with additional online access, now I feel as a user I am better off fundamentally working online, with occasional offline access. I’ve half made the transition, and there are two features I’m waiting for to complete it:

* synchronization of my calendar and contacts data
* a better way to manage/search documents (I have a half-baked, soon-to-be-released post on the inefficiencies of the folder system).

My bet is on Google or Zoho to get there first. As soon as it happens, I’m going 100% on-demand.

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