TECH TALK: Best of Tech Talk 2006: Incremental Web
Towards the end of the Mobile Internet Tech Talk, I laid the foundation for the next set of ideas the Incremental Web.
To make the mobile internet a reality, one has to look at two webs the reference web and the incremental web. Think of the reference web as the one that has already been created for the PC world and for which Google has become the window. This web has been created for the big screen of the PC. The incremental web is about the present and future it is the real-time web. This is the web which will be increasingly built more for mobiles because it is a device through which access can happen anytime and from anywhere. Suddenly, it makes sense to create real-time information because there are users with two-way devices which can access this information with near-zero latency. I think of the incremental web as being about now, near, new.
The exciting part is going to be about enabling the incremental web because that is where the mobile shines through. This is a world which will be increasingly created out of RSS and microcontent. It is a world centred around publish-subscribe. Users will have the tools to publish easily. Those interested in this content can set up subscriptions just like we do for blogs in RSS aggregators (also called feed readers). In a sense, RSS is made-for-mobiles. Its ability to deliver incremental content can enable relationships between content creators (publishers) and consumers (subscribers). The mobile is a device on which our tolerance for spam is zero considering the limitations on screen size and the fact that we will be paying for the downloaded data. This is a world which will, therefore, be built not around search, but subscriptions.
The India of today has the right ingredients to make the N3 Web a reality. There are two key building blocks for this the ability to publish for the incremental web, and the ability to consume that content. The publishing capability has been around for some time blog-based publishing tools are a very good example of enabling mass creation of incremental content. But what has been missing so far has been the ability to consume the content with low latency. The PC is not the ideal device given that it is not with us all the time. This is where the mobile Internet comes in.
Armed with good mobile phones and friendly mobile data pricing, I believe users and businesses will start creating a wide array of content on their own. This is what will create the positive spiral for usage in India and bring alive the Incremental Web one where we know of the new things happening near us now. This is the [almost] real-time Web a world envisioned by David Gelernter in Mirror Worlds. This N3 Web will be built around 4 Ms: me, mobiles, microcontent and media. This, and not the incremental Web 2.0, is what the future of the Web is about.
Tomorrow: The N3 Web
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