First, it was email, then newsgroups.
Then came and web 1.0: Search (Alta Vista, Google, Yahoo), Web-based email (AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo! mail), Forums (Slashdot), Blogs (Blogspot, Boingboing, ...), and finally social networks (Friendster, MySpace, FaceBook, ...) and web 2.0 sites built on social networks (Delicious, Digg, YouTube, ...).
So, with cool new AJAXi websites, what would be the next "big thing"?
Looks like in the next few years, we will go back to "Terminal-Server" mode. Light-weight (and cheap) terminals at home connect to big machines in server farms that will do all the computation for you. And where do all your applications live? On the server.
Google has already released their cool new Docs and Spreadsheets, which enable users edit their documents and spreadsheets on the web and start collaborating with other users, all through a web browser. Google's purchase of writely was just a start to build the largest "Online Operating System" on the web.
But there are other competitors in the market, which might be a part of the next big aquisition. Look out for Zoho and ThinkFree, two bay-area based start-ups, who offer office-like applications on the web. Is this going to be the next "Big Thing"?