As the internet improves with more applications and services, many of the desktop applications are starting be replaced by online versions of the same thing. These replacements include office suites, photo management, editing, email, and basic programs that are used everyday. What will happen to applications in the future? Will they all be on the cloud?
The cloud versus non-cloud debate most likely is one of poor foresight. The reality is that applications will probably have more of a hybrid model. This means that there will be ways of using the same applications and tools through a browser while connected to the internet with some sort of offline mode to still continue to manage, edit, and use the needed tools.
The concept of having to be 100% on the cloud isn’t one that is needed and probably will not happen. There are backup services today that sync entire folders which can be accessed from multiple devices. Your data from these applications will be on your computers as well as backed up online at the same time. It is important to keep your data on your local machine so that you always have access to it no matter what. At times services can go down and connections could be lost. If you have your data, you can work with it regardless of any of these issues.
Google did a first attempt at this type of hybrid model with Gears but the program never really shaped up the way it could have been. With the upcoming HTML5 it will be much easier for there to be online and offline versions of web applications because of the way these new standards are being programmed.
Another huge benefit of this type of online software is that phones will be accessing the same data. This will allow users to continually be in check with all their documents and programs even on their cell phones. The more devices that can use the same applications and data, the easier it will be to keep everything that you use up to date.