But a very different, and much more aggressive, Eric Schmidt appears in the Economist's new "World in 2007" issue. Schmidt contributes an article titled "Don't bet against the Internet," in which he makes a striking prediction. Next year, he writes, "we’ll witness the increasing dominance of open internet standards." These standards "will sweep aside the proprietary protocols promoted by individual companies striving for technical monopoly. Today’s desktop software will be overtaken by internet-based services that enable users to choose the document formats, search tools and editing capability that best suit their needs."
The big question to me is this: should you start building to an "always on" model of network connectivity, or to a "usually on" model? Google sounds like they are assuming the former - I tend to believe the latter. What you build will vary based on that question - "full cloud" apps, or "smart clients".
To give an example I'm familiar with, BottomFeeder is a smart client. It lives on the desktop, but is usable (and useful) when there's no network. Google docs, or calendar? Without a net connection, those applications may as well not exist. As a business traveler, I'm not sure I want to fully rely on those kinds of applications yet; on a long flight to Sydney, I'm going to want to access my documents (etc). Based on what I'm reading about connectivity on planes, I don't see that hole closing anytime soon.
Even putting that aside, there are plenty of times that connectivity that should work doesn't. I've certainly been in hotels where the net connection was broken, or completely sub-optimal. If it's the night before a big meeting, I don't want to be bereft of all the productivity applications I might need. Open document formats sounds great, and I'd really like to see that spread. I have far less interest (at least right now) in a fully cloud based model.