Probably the driving force behind all this is XMLHttpRequest concept, which makes it quite possible. From the business front, Microsoft is been talking about smart clients for a quite a while reflecting their images on their Windows operating system.
What is next ?
- Now people speculate; is Ajax a alternative for Flash, I don't think so. In fact they will be compliment each other in terms of sharing feature sets. xamlon.com went ahead collaborated the Ajax model with Flash and they call it as Aflax (Ajax+Flash). Look at their google maps equivalent in Flash .
- Toolkits and API for Ajax; We need toolkit and API's which support Ajax, which will learning curve
- Speculations; Sam Ruby about Ajax's other side.
I would watch for it, with experimenting Ajax way.