Charting a new (software) paradigm

Tim O’Reilly’s written a very clear and persuasive essay about distributed software and data storage, which he calls a new software paradigm shift. The leverage points–not Microsoft Passport and AOL Screen Name Service, two ideas that didn’t take on much of the power they expected—are email and search, FOAF and indexing, all working across large distributed datasets.
O’Reilly says “…Pioneers like Google are remaking the computing industry before our eyes. Google of course isn’t one computer — it’s a hundred thousand computers, by report — but to the user, it appears as one. Our personal computers, our phones, and even our cars, increasingly need to be thought of as access and local storage devices. The services that matter are all going to run on the global virtual computer that the internet is becoming.”
He concludes by asking, “But who owns the data?” and that of course, is what makes gmail critics nervous.
(Thanks Chris!)