Browser Blur

So, just to recap. This is my list of the online trends that marketers need to know about.

We had:

1. User-Generated Content (big surprise there)

2. Rich Internet Applications (popping up all over the place, but not on most marketers radars yet)

and finally...

3. Browser Blur. What, you ask, the hell is browser blur? New buzzword. I just made it up. You heard it here first kids.

Because of Trend #2 (RIAs) applications that have traditionally lived on the desktop are moving online. Salesforce.com takes credit for starting this trend (not exactly how it happened I believe, but Perception is one of the Immutable Laws of Marketing). Companies like Google, Microsoft and AOL and dozens upon dozens of startups are tripping over themselves to build or buy these applications. You're seeing word processors, calendars, even video editing tools, popping up all over the place. And because they're web-based, they can offer collaboration features like document sharing that desktop apps can't.

On the other end of the spectrum, you've got apps that deliver content via RSS feeds to the desktop without a browser. iTunes for one. Apple widgets are another that marketers are already taking advantage of. Slide has a toolbar that sits on your desktop and has photos slide by, fed from whatever site you want -- whether it's your friends' Flickr feeds, or things you want to buy on eBay. Traction is partnering with a company called ScreenAngels right now to create rich, personalized, brand experiences right on users' desktops.

The point here is that the lines are blurring. But, in that haze, there's great little opportunities for brands to reach consumers all over the place. Luckily, now you're prepared.

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