Ok if you have been following up with the latest dev tools and gadgets then you must've heard of Google Gears and Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight is not just an adobe flash (formerly Macromedia) competitor, it is a whole new client platform for building interactive media applications over the web. Basically the idea is based on .NET 3.0 XAML and WPF and allowing developers to build more media interactive and rich UI applications over the web. Anyone who wrote flash scripts know it is never a Dev job, we all hate scripts mostly :).
However, what about google gears and how it fits in the whole picture, and what about the future of the desktop and where is it going. So google gears has been released almost 3 - 4 weeks ago to Devs, and it introduces a whole new concept of offering offline accessability to web applications and also data store. Well Silverlight offers isolated data store, not of course relational data base like gears but it is a store that can be used for anything and still it is under development so who knows what they will come up with. But gears offer a complete offline availabilty of those applications, and this pauses a great question "What is the future of the desktop environment". Well from my opinion i see google will be heading more over a UI framework that will be similar to gears and probably an add on, and they will invest more and more into a semi connected client that can be accessed from the browser, and after 3 - 5 years maybe less they will have their own Office application running on that browser without the need to be fully connected and providing the same richness of the interface.
Basically, i think today with silver light and gears you can prove this concept, there was a blog article written about a sample integrating both Gears and Silverlight together so it is not far from reality.
So could this be the replacement of desktop applications in both the home and the enterprise? Could this be the new Smart Client? Will google be developing an MS office rival? well i don't know but i see high hopes for both Silverlight and Gears to change the way we think about the whole software development ecosystem.