By Anthony Capps
The future of Internet is not a mobile application or a website.
The future of Internet lies in the browser. It’s that piece of software that you use to surf the web such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome. Browsers exist to read the language of the Internet: HTML.
The web applications that run via browsers operate on the Internet instead of an operating system or your hard drive.
This web app model is like Facebook’s in which Facebook gives people and businesses a platform and basic tools so they can create content and applications to make the site better.
And a Facebook operating system – perhaps even a phone – could occur in the near future. After all, there are more people on Facebook than people living in the United States.
A browser knows a lot about you – it knows I first searched “Barack Obama” on Aug. 18, 2006 at 9:34 p.m. – and it can provide the platform for others to build on. These browsers exist, but the application stage may be deemed a necessary part of this transition because it enables users to interact with the devices.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said in an interview with tech blogger Rob Scoble a couple years ago that the future of Facebook isn’t a website. This could mean that in the near future Facebook will launch its own operating system to compete with the Android, RIM and iPhone operating systems.
A key problem for operating systems built by companies like Apple and Google is they are dependent on Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision and Mediacom. It creates a middleman that OS companies probably prefer to avoid.
Applications are built on these operating systems but they don’t boast the features that have created the modern Internet. Applications are very limited or simply unable to talk to each other. Hyper-linking from one app to another is not possible, and a link from a website is directed to the mobile web, not an organization’s app. Reaching a larger usage seems unfounded because people will only accept so many apps on their device. No one wants 500 applications.
Businesses build on top of the browser platform and enable users to pick and choose what comes to them. Businesses can’t expect people to seek out their website anymore. Businesses – especially media – have to seek people.
Therefore, the future seems as if it will be streams — think Facebook’s news feed, Twitter or RSS feeds. These streams are geared for you — customizable and filterable. Twitter and Facebook already give us the ability to put people, businesses and our interests into a stream and filter what we want to see through their list capabilities.
But these feeds will be built into the browser. It will be similar to how Google Talk killed the need for AIM and how Google Docs made Microsoft Word a little obsolete — both programs ran from your computer’s hardware, not the Internet. A Facebook browser with Twitter built into it is the same as having Google search on it.
This is an atomic age of streams where information is in front of you and then it disappears. It’s buried under billions of other status updates, tweets, photos and videos. It’s information and news that can’t easily be lifted from the archive.
A lot of information will survive and grow on the web. Those CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays will be on the Internet and therefore transportable too, unless you’re nostalgic and want the material product.
Mobile applications will likely always be around because they provide an outlet for those dedicated to a certain brand, but it’s not a wise place to devote lots of money and resources.
Web pages and perhaps sites will exist for archiving purposes, but the Internet is about the Third Estate – the people – not business. Information must find the people since the Internet brought decentralization where there is little to no authority.
A molecular age is around the corner as the atomic age demands organization. People will want all that information to be cataloged, sorted and filtered to stay alive. However, that’s for the next age of the Internet — Web 4.0.