I am writing this article as I simultaneously browse the Internet archive, a concept which is an oxymoron within itself. As the World Wide Web progresses as such exponential rates, it’s difficult to fathom that an archive can even exist. The page www.archive.org allows users the ability to go back in time and view websites at various stages within their shelf life. Perusing through screenshots of what appears to be primitive examples of Google (before it became an adjective), one garners a greater appreciation of what the Internet is in its current state, and where the Internet will be.
Apps Replacing Internet Browsers
It’s undeniable that the dichotomy between Apps and Browsers exists, as mobile technology becomes more prevalent in ‘developed’ and ‘less-developed’ nations. Mobile tools such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and laptop computers are now a primary source of Internet connectivity in highly developed nations which effectively changes the way in which we absorb data and information. And, let’s not forget that ‘less-developed’ nations are also keen to mobile technology because of the versatility and wireless capabilities. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 2/3 of American adults use the World Wide Web through a smartphone, tablet computer, or an on-the-go laptop.
In three years’ time, there will be an estimated 10 billion mobile internet devices around the globe, theoretically allowing for 1.4 devices per person, increasing web interactivity by 50 times the amount we’re at today (Cisco statistics).
The trends point to mobile or device applications replacing browsers in many instances. Companies will need to ensure that they have a downloadable application for ease of access, or at the very least, incorporate responsive web-design into their planning. If they don’t, they run the risk of losing a large portion of their market share in the years to come.
Greater Peer-to-Peer Influence
Gone are the days where you needed to go to ‘established’ websites in order to get the information or entertainment you desired. Inevitably, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a web developer will be in a situation where they will have to code something from scratch. Many of today’s most popular websites are based off of the open-source ware provided by WordPress. Mashable, CNN, Forbes, Reuters, and the New York Times are among the most notable Word Press users (after Jay-Z, of course). This makes building and exporting content over the web far easier than ever before.
Sites like Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter promote user generated content, and that content is what users are looking for. Relevant, up-to-the-minute, and raw content. That’s what you see on your Facebook stream, and what you talk about at the water cooler. There still is a place for conventional mediums, but the public sphere is evening out, creating more soapboxes for us to stand upon. We will see more peer-to-peer influence in the next few years as innovative websites emerge. You can see how much of an effect websites like Instagram and Pinterest have had on internet content in only a few years of existence. More niche-social sites will be a focal point in the next decade.
Heads in the Cloud and Ownership
Cloud technology has become quite popular, and it will only gain momentum. E-mail, images, work documents are stored and shared easily. We use cloud-based technologies to manage projects. We have our smartphone data backed up and tracked. And that’s just a few examples of how this technology has changed the way we think of the web. Ownership of content will change. Instead of having a music album, users would rather stream it from sites like YouTube or Spotify. The technology of the future harbours this approach. Netflix is an example of how business models have implemented this solution. In the past, torrenting movies and music was common, but users are happily adopting a lending approach to absorb their media as it takes up less space on their hard drives.