As some of you know, Adobe Air is a desktop application that can interact with internet applications. The catch here is that since its a desktop application, it has access to the same elements of the physical machine as any other desktop application (USB ports, printers, sound/video out ports, etc). Browsers don’t yet that kind of access to a computer. They are limited to the user space in which they are run in. All the sound and video you hear and see is sent through 3rd party applications within the browser. What if the browser could control those elements of your machine? What if your entire computer experience was now internet based. Google is already trying to push this with software as a service (GoogleDocs), but keep extending this idea. What if your media center could be controlled via an internet application?
Eclipse IDE is now at a point at which you can your code as its running and change function calls at the opcode level to avoid recompiling your program over and over. Eclipse has grown to the point where its almost like an OS in its capabilities. In that same vein, Google’s new browser now controls its individual tabs and sandboxes each tab in order to have task level control over potentially runaway web applications.
So what I am trying to say here? I’m glad you asked. I believe this browser is the next step towards ubiquitous computing in the sense that 1 application to control your internet (or whole user) experience. AppleTV for instance is a set of specially designed hardware that can be interacted with over the internet. By allowing applications, such as Air (and potentially soon Chrome) to internet directly with the hardware attached to the computer, you are are negating the need for that specially designed hardware. One piece of hardware can be designed to do it all in terms of the interactive experience. Google is stepping to the plate and pushing forward for just this type of innovation. Keep an eye on the features of Google Chrome to come. If it becomes integrated any deeper into the desktop, it will open up a new age of ubiquitous computing.