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Soon the Web will die

11/21/10 | by jdubray | Categories: Mobile

Tim Berners Lee wrote a piece on Scientific American titled "Long Live the Web". I am not sure it would have been appropriate for a KBE to call it "God save the Web", but that's pretty much what it sounded like. IMHO, the Web will not survive the next 5 years.  A number of factors would have contributed to kill the Web:

a) The "your privacy" as a business model is over, governments across the globe will tighten privacy laws that will pretty much kill every opportunity to "resell my data". And thats good. How far is the Web today from a one click seamless purchase experience?

b) Anonymity is no longer an acceptable hack. When I call someone with my phone they (usually) know who I am, I know who I am talking to and I have a reasonable amount and assurance of privacy. None of that is common on the Web, 20 years after it started.

c) User experience: the Web client is dead, people no longer care of running a client everywhere, they carry their client with them: iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air lead the way. Who would use someone else's device? The browser provides an abysmal user (and developer) experience. HTML5 will be hit by major security stunts that will make it impractical to use in business scenarios. Anyone who has read a magazine like Paris Match or used the ESPN application on an iPad understand that the browser has no future.

d) The power advantage: it doesn't sound like much for people that focus all their attention on four little HTTP verbs, but power consumption is a major computing factor both in the data center and the device. The Web can't win that battle when users are in the billions. Constantly marshaling and interpreting your code makes no sense at all in a mobile world. And I am not even talking about bandwidth.

e) In the last couple of years, two new ways of accessing information have emerged, shaking the very foundation of the Web, the domain. Today more and more people access information via their friends or their apps. domain:// is being replaced by me:// and app://, not to mention location:// or image://. Those changes are not merely syntactic, they are profound and induce huge roadblocks for the historical actors of the Web, like Google.

So what's left of the Web? Not much, it is the classical innovator's dilema, at the scale of the Web, an inability to understand that the features that made it popular, will also kill it as others innovate to meet the needs of droves of non consumers. People want fast computing capabilities integrated with every activity of their lives with reasonable power consumption. The Web can't deliver that. Several companies are now in the position to create systems that compete in size and scope with the "Web" itself and offer far better attributes. Over the next five years, new ways to access information, new business models and new security infrastructures will take over the Web as we know it today. You can be assured that everyone will scramble to migrate his or her content away from "the Web". This is not an evolution, the Web itself is not immune to technology lifecycles, somehow, this is very refreshing.


1 comment

Comment from: jdubray [Member]  


apologies, I deleted your comment by mistake, I have a few people writing bogus comments, I try to pick up some keywords to filter them out. I am not quite sure how your comment was filtered out too. Feel free to repost it, if you have a copy.

Fair enough, this is just my opinion. You can however note that Sir Tim, offers no real argument to explain how the Web -adapts- to a mobile Web.

11/22/10 @ 06:01



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