Your Browser in Five Years

The next big computing platform won't be Apple's Mac OS, Google's Android, or Microsoft's Windows. It's already here--and it's the Web.

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Web design firm Adaptive Path, a leader in user-interface development, created a conceptual interface for Firefox maker Mozilla in 2008. Called Aurora, the concept features a Web-centric world where all data and applications reside within the framework of the browser. In a demonstration video, a man named Tim uses gestures to interact with Aurora on a large wall screen. The display includes a camera that reads and interprets Tim's hand and arm movements. Personal workspaces, similar to bookmarks, appear as large thumbnails; Tim organizes his desktop by "grabbing" workspace objects (without actually touching the display) and "pushing" them to where they belong on the screen.

Though Aurora may never become an end-user interface, it does offer an intriguing glimpse of a browser-based future that today's tech-industry players--via standards groups like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)--are working hard to create.

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