Hawk Wings found
an interesting post
from Nick Starr that briefly outlines how Google is doing a decent job of matching up to the offerings of .Mac. While Nick has a good point with observing that some of Google's key products are similar to .Mac's offerings, such as the Blogger
combo (aka iWeb) and their recently released Browser Sync extension
for Firefox (aka Safari syncing), I think what a lot of people either keep missing, don't know or simply don't care about is the application integration that the power of .Mac offers by being baked into Mac OS X. Let's also not forget .Mac's syncing extensibility that lets 3rd parties join .Mac's party; my copies of Yojimbo and Transmit can keep notes and FTP accounts (respectively) synchronized between my Macs via the built-in sync engine. Going further, other 3rd party applications can take advantage of this integration, such as Quicksilver's ability to catalog and keep the same contacts from Address Book on multiple Macs just a shortcut key away; with the flick of my wrist I can find a contact (or multiple) and either copy their information to my clipboard, open their card for editing or fire off an email without even touching a Mail message or a browser window. With iWeb I can drag and drop an iPhoto album of 100 images and have them all optimized and ready to publish to the web, complete with a sexy slideshow - oddly, I don't see a similar extension for Firefox. The list could go on, but I'm sure you're already either nodding your head or typing up a flame comment, so I'll spare you.
Taking a step back from all this, it sounds as though services like Google's are simply striking a chord with a few unique killer features that are enough to entice some users (and, obviously, their price tag can't hurt either). But ultimately, I simply think it's too much of a leap to label some loosely entangled 'Web 2.0' services as a complete replacement for the sheer power, ease of use and 'no waiting for a refresh' aspects of desktop applications and operating systems that many users might be missing out on.