TECH TALK: 2.0: The New Information Platform

The biggest change for me in the past few months has been how little I use the browser to access content. I am getting information from 10 times more sites, but the time I spend has not changed. Instead of my going to these sites, the incremental updates from these sites (including weblogs) are delivered to me in my email client. As a result, I now have subscriptions to over 150 websites and weblogs, which deliver about 500 items into my mailbox. It takes me about 45 minutes to scan these items, and keep aside a handful for thinking and detailed viewing (in the eventuality that the full article is not available as part of the item). This revolution has been made possible by the magic of RSS (Rich Site Summary; an XML format for syndicating content), and it is RSS which is at the heart of the next web that is being created the Publish-Subscribe Web. Together, they form the foundation for the New Information Platform.

Consider the evolving nature of content and publishing from the users point of view:

  • Beyond Pull: Users would like to get content delivered to them, rather than having to go to sites to see what is new.
  • Beyond the Browser: Users would like to access content from multiple devices like cellphones and PDAs, rather than just their computers.
  • Beyond Search and Bookmarks: Users would like to track sites they have visited once via search ,so that each time they like a site, they do not have to worry about adding it to an ever-growing list of bookmarks.
  • Beyond Broadcast: Users would like content personalised, with related links based on past history and interests.
  • Beyond Reading: Users would like to be able to publish their comments, ideas, reviews, and be part of the community.
  • Beyond Text: Users would like to get access to a granularity other than a largely text-based webpage. On one side, it could just be the incremental change (the new content), while at the other it could be an image or audio/video clip.
  • Beyond Big Media: Users would like multiple voices from others like them.
  • Beyond Pop-Ups: Users would like ads which are relevant to what they are reading.
  • Beyond Anonymity: Users would like to see what their friends are discussing.
  • Beyond Global: Users would like to know more about what is happening in their neighbourhoods that is where they spent much of their life.
  • Beyond Delays: Users would like to get the content they are interested instantly.

    The definition of what content is and how it is accessed has changed over the past few years. Users expectations have evolved, even as the sites that serve them have barely changed. This is the information discontinuity. The world of Internet content and portals, especially in emerging markets like India where habits are not yet completely formed, needs disruptive innovations.

    The solution lies in taking Push, a Microcontent Client, Subscriptions, Narrowcast, Writing, Multimedia, Blogs, Contextual Ads, Social Networks, Localisation and Real-Time Updates into a common framework. Think of these as the elements that make up the New Information Platform.

    Tomorrow: The New Information Platform (continued)


  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.