Alistair, who has been writing recently at GigaOM, puts together the most lucid synthesis I have seen on the topic of the “Web OS.”
Big Internet companies are making themselves the OS of the web 2.0 world. In addition to the fundamentals — operating a web application, storing data, handling logins — each company has a core expertise. In Google’s case, it’s page ranking and relevance; Facebook maps social relationships; Salesforce knows about customer relationships; and eBay has an auction and reputation engine.
In a slight digression I leave you with the following totally awesome video on the nature of information and how the web is setting it free: