GigaOM has an interesting post today on Big Internet is Web 2.0’s OS — so Who Owns the Apps? written by Alistair Croll. I have known GigaOM for some very insightful pieces of information but this post is really on top. Alistair writes about how opening up their platforms helps large web services like eBay, Google and Amazon turn into operating systems, servicing niche areas of online business.
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.
Applications created on top of powerful existing platforms get the inherent ability to be relevant and effective, yet light weight. An application built on top of the eBay platform leverages from its reputation and auction engine while delivering functionality that eBay itself may not want to currently get into. Opening up their platform has brought Facebook where it currently is.
Creating an environment for application creation is beneficial for the web service crown jewels of today and they will only hurt themselves by creating roadblocks in the way of application development. Hopefully the Facebooks of today realize the goldmine of collective intelligence they are sitting on and try to tap into it by removing some of the hurdles. Creating conditions for development of applications serving the long tail is going to be the way of the future as per the current internet trends.