Here are my crazy predications regarding the future of computing, at least as far as operating systems go. At the moment, there exists three dominant operating systems out there: Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. You could argue that OSX is a BSD, and say that Linux is just the kernel. You'd have a point, but it misses mine. From a desktop perspective, you're choices are either Microsoft, Apple, or Open Source. The problem with this, they aren't the only players here. In the world of computing, Microsoft and Apple are really only rivaled by one other company: Google. Despite Google's recent problems with Buzz, as well as past issues, they are still in many ways a good company. They are also a smart company. They also have lots of money.
Google will build a Linux OS, and make it user friendly. I want to say they will buy Canonical, and turn Ubuntu into their OS, called Google One. Wait? What? They have their own OS...
What about Chrome OS?
No. Google isn't dumb. The operating system isn't going away. They know this. Google realizes the power of controlling the environment. They made Chrome for a reason. They want people to use Chrome so Google can do all sorts of crazy things with the web. Oh, it's great for the web. What they are doing is being a good neighbor. But they are also doing it because it allows them to have the control they need.
Look, it's really simple. Apple has demonstrated what happens when you control everything. You can make products people want. Google realizes this. So does Microsoft. The thing is, of the three, Google is the only one who doesn't control their environment. Google is at the behest of Apple and Microsoft. Google took the first steps with Chrome. Android is another way for them to control a market. But all of this ignores the one market that Google really needs: the operating system. The interface to the web. The interface to your applications.
Suddenly, instead of a Windows or OSX world, you'll have Google thrown in, and that will be on top of Linux. Why Linux? Because support for Linux is insane when compared to the other options out there. Ubuntu has proven that with dedication, you can create a distribution that people will flock to for desktop use. With Valve's delivery of Steam and Source to Mac, a Linux client isn't far behind. With Google's backing, Linux would finally become ready for the desktop.
In 5 years, there will be three desktop operating systems to consider: Windows, Apple's new OS (whatever that is), and Google One. And you know what? In that time, developing applications across all three platforms will get easier, especially with the advent of HTML5 and next generation browsers.
Yes, it's coming.
Bold predictions. Let's wait and see. The benefit is if I'm right, it'll be awesome. If I'm wrong, no one will know. Mostly because so few read this blog.