Over the course of a number of columns, I elaborated on the Now-New-Near Web ideas:
Now Web: Now is about incremental in Time. It is about events that are happening now. Other words to describe this web are real-time and live. The World of Now is the world around us. Watching a cricket match on TV or a business channel with its constant updates of stock indices and prices is a view on whats happening now…In the enterprise context, the Now Web can be thought of as the ability to get real-time updates from business applications for decision-making. In the consumer context, the Now Web can be thought of as being able to get a view of what Ramesh Jain (with whom I have co-founded Seraja) has called the EventWeb.
New Web: The New Web can be thought of as incremental in Topics. Topics relate to our interests. The New Web is about tracking people or topics. RSS (or a feed) is central to this Web…The New Web also lets us pursue our micro-interests. RSS feeds let us change the granularity of what information is updated. On the Reference Web, I will only know that a page has changed if at all. In the World of Now, the granularity can be for the microcontent think blog posts. A legacy search engine will index a page, but an incremental web search engine will focus on the feeds. Feeds are the containers and carriers for microcontent.
Near Web: The Near Web can be thought of as incremental in Space. It is the Web that is around where we are physically present. It is a world of shops, malls, schools, hospitals, traffic, and much more. In India, much of this Web does not have an electronic presence. It needs to be created…PIN-News is about building a bottom-up community information system. It is built around PIN codes. Neighbourhood events can be posted on to specific pages, organised in a weblog-format. By using standardized forms to do the post, it is possible to capture the information in XML format and use a matching engine to send out alerts to people. For example, if I am interested in book exhibitions or special offers, I can set up an alert on a few PIN codes around my home and workplace. When the book shops in the area do their updates, I can be immediately alerted. PIN-News thus fills the gap in communicating dynamic information to people who are most likely to benefit from it.
I ended by discussing the relevance for India:
India needs to leapfrog to the Now-New-Near Web. This is a web that will be built around mobiles and with a significant contribution coming from user-generated content. It will significantly improve life by bridging the information gaps that exist. It is a Web in which India can be the leader. The digital infrastructure and the devices to create and consume content are in place. What is missing is the set of services.
Another barrier to the creation of the Reference Web for the mass-market has been language. India has a multitude of languages. The computers that exist do not make it easy to create local language content. By adopting multimedia content creation techniques, India can break this barrier. Mobiles are the ideal devices for the creation of such content.
The Now-New-Near Web will be at the heart of the New India. It will be a virtual mirror of the physical world around us, accessible via the device we already carry and over networks that already exist. It will be the next big upgrade to the Web and one which India can lead.
Tomorrow: Network Computing