ajaxWindows is a virtual operating system that lets you store, edit and share your files using only a browser.
I still don't fully get the whole Web operating system concept. Why run an OS inside a browser when your browser is running in an OS to begin with? But AjaxWindows, a Web OS and application suite that launched today, makes a very good case for the Web OS. It's not ready yet for adoption by the world at large, but the idea behind it, and some of the features in it, are too interesting to write off as just yet another science project.
Ajax13, the company that makes AjaxWindows, was originally started to create Web-based applications. It made a word processor, sketching program, and a presentation application. Founder Michael Robertson realized that making yet more productivity applications (see also: Google, ThinkFree, Zoho, etc.) wasn't a Most Likely to Succeed strategy, so he's rolled these applications into an ambitious Web-based operating system. It worked for Microsoft, I suppose.
Michael Robertson, CEO explains on his blog post:
When you set up an ajaxWindows computer you'll have the ability to sync essential data from your existing computer to create your virtual PC in it’s likeness. Core information like documents, bookmarks, contacts, wallpaper, and even your music can be copied to your ajaxWindow's computer. This is a handy way to backup your files even if you're not interested in a virtual computer.
You will also be able to completely customize ajaxWindows. For instance you can select the default search engine, homepage, and webmail you prefer. My goal is to have a desktop experience that lets you combine the best of all net resources into one seamless experience.
To that end, ajaxWindows uses popular online services to store certain files. For example music files are stored in your MP3tunes Locker, while documents and other file types are stored in your Gmail account. (ajaxWindows automatically creates an MP3tunes account and guides you through the Gmail set up if you don’t have an account already.)
Once your ajaxWindows computer is setup you can access it from any Macintosh, Microsoft or Linux computer. It runs best with Firefox, but can also run on Internet Explorer with the addition of an ActiveX plugin. You will experience a full functioning desktop operating system with the ability to drag icons around, navigate through folders, customize your menus, and of course launch applications.
Included in the default ajaxWindows desktop is a rich library of free applications. There are office type applications that Ajax13 has authored to open, edit and save Microsoft Office formatted documents. These include ajaxWrite for Microsoft Word documents and ajaxPresents for Powerpoint files. There is also a wide range of best-of-the-web applications preloaded.