IT ALL STARTED WITH A SEARCH ENGINE. Back in the days, Google Search has taken over the web by its simplicity, light-weight, and precision of returned results.
Then Google slowly expanded into GMail, Calendar, Google Docs, etc.. in an attempt to replace desktop office with web-based alternatives. More features were being added constantly, making their apps more and more attractive to average users.
Then there was 'Google Maps' and 'Google Earth', usefulness and simplicity of which introduced lots of exciting new possibilities. Now Google Maps is easily supported by mobile devices, such as iPhone.
Shortly after iPhone debut, Google released its own version of a mobile OS, called Android, installed on a 'G1 Phone', which arguably claims 'top 3' spot in mobile devices.
Not to stop there, Google Chrome, being a direct competitor to most popular web browsers, is climbing its way up. Its main selling point is stability, gained by creating a separate process for each 'browsing tab'. This feature is quite useful for frequent web surfers, especially those who like Rich Internet Apps (RIA), due to RIA frequent instability and often experimental functionality.
Now Google is going even further to announce Google Chrome OS. According to the blog, Chrome OS will run a new windowing system on top of Linux kernel. As a web developer, I find following excerpt particularly interesting:
For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.
Seems like Google has been planning this all along. They already have support for Gadgets, Google Desktop, Google Gears, and a growing Gadget library. It is interesting how Google is finding a viable business model where giants like Apple and Microsoft have been dominating for years. I think Google's success so far is mostly attributed to 'riding web evolution wave', which is quickly capturing minds of web users and developers alike all around the globe.
Now, a word about web development. As a developer, Google has helped me in a number of ways. GWT took away cross-browser pains. Google Code gave free source code hosting to software projects. Now Google App Engine (GAE) is being offered as a platform for running web applications.
Given all these technologies, it is my opinion that Google simplifies web development and opens up doors to new frontiers which, before, were only imaginable. Given this 'simplicity', more developers are willing to adopt 'Google technology stack', thus, 'collectively' creating software to power the 'Web of Tomorrow'.
On a side note, a college buddy of mine used to work for Google in NYC office. He invited me once for a short tour. I really liked the atmosphere, as it was relaxed and focused. Using StarTrek analogy, it felt like being in the 'Engine Room'!