Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Saturday, January 01, 2005

2005 Prediction

My prediction is that Google will continue to do what it has been doing, without many naming it as such: replacing Microsoft Office with a mostly-online suite. I wouldn't be suprised to see a browser from Google, not in order to compete with IE but in order to compete with Word -- that is, a browser (or a line of plug-ins for IE, FireFox, Safari, etc.) that would support not just WYSIWYG editing but also that which is still missing from the online document-editing experience: WYSIWYG printing.

I'm typing this post into a WYSIWYG editor in a page served up by, but I have as yet no way to print out exactly what I enter on such a web page, because current browsers assume what you are printing is just a web page and so they make Big Brother assumptions about how to print the page, e.g. showing the URL in the footer when you print. Fix that, give me a browser which can be directed to print a web page according to how I really want (and a web application that can let me specify the layout of a page relative to physical paper, etc.), and I no longer need Word for simple documents. Instead I'll be able to edit, save, and print documents online, just as I can organize and use emails with Gmail.

Speaking of Gmail, I'd expect to see improved contact organization abilities in Gmail or in some related service. Also, I need an online appointment planning tool hooked into Gmail.

Such changes would make Outlook and Word unnecessary for 80% of the work of nearly all computer users; and 100% of the work for 80% of users.

The big wins for consumers: less software to buy; less software to load; less software to crash; and seamless online data storage -- meaning my documents and contact info and appointment schedules would be usable at the end of any ethernet wire or wi-fi signal.


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