Thursday, January 24, 2008

Software as a Service

Interesting review in Salon today of The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, by Nicholas G. Carr. Carr proclaims the end of the personal computing era, with the heavy-lifting of computing moving from the desktop to the web with global services that power our work.

He describes the movement away from Thomas Edison's vision of small, DC generators powering neighborhoods and individual factories to Nikola Tesla's vision of large, AC plants that serve wide areas. He compares this to the move today away from desktop or local applications to service as a service (SaaS) applications like or the various Google apps, such as Google Docs or Google Calendar.

This is the underpinning of much of what OCLC is doing today, of course, with WorldCat Local and The idea is to move as much redundant work out of the individual institutions as possible to free up staff and resources to focus on the library's (pick one or more) customers or patrons or users or constituents. Nomenclature is a discussion for another time.

Thanks to my former IAG co-blogger Alane Wilson for pointing me to this.

1 comment:

Nicolas Cary said...

It’s very likely that personal computers will be completely replaced by touch screens with wireless internet access in the near future. If the bulk of all major computing can be delivered via an internet pipeline then desktop PC's are obsolete and so are their operating systems.
The move to SaaS makes the browser the final frontier of software deployment. Applications like PipelineDeals CRM and other hosted software providers are leading the charge here. Its an exciting time as competition is sure to bring down the cost of these services for all consumers.