The possibility of Google providing both a browser and applications is fascinating. Unlike Microsoft, they are likely to integrate these in an open fashion, picking up the torch from Netscape on the Web Object Model. I can’t find any remnants now, but somewhere around 1996 Netscape published a prescient whitepaper that outlined their vision for the Web. In what they termed an “object soup”, they described exchange of atomic data structures in XML with HTTP operations, effectively defining RESTful web services several years before that meme caught on.
I drank the Kool-aid at the time, and still find my thoughts on web architecture driven by adherence to this model. So I’m excited to see the return of the object soup meme, as manifest both in web services (RESTful or WS-I) and micro-requests from the client side. Avi Bryant’s liveUpdater() is a great example of the latter, and smells a lot like some intranet development I did in 1999, of course inspired by the Netscape object soup vision.