Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Web is Dead?

The current issue of Wired is nothing less than brilliant. In a nutshell, the writers argue that the developments Jonathan Zittrain warned against have come to pass. The future of the Internet is here and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

To paraphrase --

In its early years, the World Wide Web resembled the Old West in the frontier days. Lots of wide open space and freedom or anarchy, depending on how you look at it. By now, the Web has come to resemble everything bad about the Old West. The Wild, Wild Web is full of showdowns, shootouts and thieves who steal, not only your money, but your freaking identity. You basically need a War Wagon of digital protection to survive there. Worse than that, it's perilously difficult to make money on the Web -- and ridiculously easy to waste money on advertising with zero results. You're out there in the wilderness with millions of other people giving content away for free.

But the Web is a subset of the Internet. According to Wired, more and more businesses and users are bypassing the Web entirely.

The emerging trend is portal-to-portal communication to "tethered appliances" (iPods, XBoxes, etc.) or sites like Facebook that resembled the "Walled Gardens" of the mid-1990s that everybody thought had died forever. If you log in, you can get to Facebook site; Google can't. It's a private party. It ain't searchable. And Facebook is not alone in its construction of moats, gates and walls.

What used to be wide open spaces are now strung with barbed wire.

It's sad. But probably inevitable.

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