Jonathan was giving a keynote and asked the audience: “Would you rather give up your browser, or all the rest of your desktop apps?” The answer is obvious, but the follow-on questions are real interesting. Most ordinary database-backed business apps have migrated into the browser and they’re not coming back, no matter how great Windows Vista is. Given that, what kind of apps justify the irritation and inconvenience of having to download ’em and update ’em and back up the data and so on? Jonathan lists a few, including the browser itself, Skype, Google Earth, OpenOffice. But what’s the pattern behind that list? From right now in 2005, I see three families of desktop apps that are here for the long haul: First the browser itself, including variations like news readers and music finders, whether P2P or centralized. Second, realtime human-to-human communication, spanning the spectrum from text to voice to video. Third, content creation: PhotoShop, Excel, DreamWeaver, and whatever we’ll need for what we’re creating tomorrow. And like Jonathan says, as does Tim O’Reilly way down at the bottom of Page 3 of his big What is Web 2.0? essay, as did the Government of Massachusetts: all those bits and bytes that are the numbers and reports and stories and poetry and pictures and music and video we’re creating and shipping and searching and sharing? They’ll be open, non-proprietary, re-use limited only by their creator and your imagination. Nothing else makes any sense.