Anyone who has seen or played with Flock may tend to believe that the future of web browsers is in service integration. While this will certainly happen to some extent I believe the larger integration won't be with services but rather with the desktops of the users running those browsers.
The current web-experience is limited in what it can do because it's tied to the traditional navigate view model. Traditional applications that are installed on your computer can do many useful things that interact with your desktop directly but the hooks for these types of services don't exist in the browser world... yet. There's a lot of opportunity to continue to build dynamic web-platform applications. Some examples of what will be possible:
- A music website can register for CD-notifications. When a person inserts a music-CD the website launches and plays the music. Today only traditional applications can do this.
- A website can request to be opened at a set schedule allowing sites that offer online calendars, reminders and schedule based information to notify you of important events.
- A photo sharing website can connect to your digital camera and help you upload your photos to the service.
- A web application can request to register certain file-types so when you double click a file and the registered website is opened to handles that file. This will allow true web-office applications to be built.
Unlike Flock the next generation browsers won't integrate applications into the browser they will allow web-applications to be integrated into the desktop. This will further blur the line between the web and the application space. The other thing that this will do is make it much more attractive to write web-applications to target cross platform tools.
Is this Web 3.0? Nahhh. This is just the beginning. All the stuff we're seeing today is still beta. The real Web 2.0 is still a few years away.