One of the ideas I had discussed in my previous Tech Talk on the mobile Internet was about the Incremental Web, or what I had described as now, new and near. In this series, I want to elaborate on that because I believe that this Web is fundamentally different from the one we have. It is a Web which will come into being in emerging markets like India where the legacy isnt that deeply embedded.
Take a look around some of the hoardings in Mumbai and you will see ads from two Internet companies Rediff and Yahoo. Both have a common theme email. What struck me as amazing is that after more than 11 years of the Internet in India, the two leading portals are fighting a battle around email. Thats how frozen in time we have become!
On the other hand, many entrepreneurs in India are a few steps ahead of the pack. The buzz is around Web 2.0. In a country where Web 1.0 hasnt become part of peoples lives, we are already talking social networking, user-generated content and the like. One key facet is forgotten amidst the hoopla about the 40 million Indians on the Internet that for most of them access to the Internet is limited to barely a few minutes a day. Or, put another way, since cybercafes are the way most Indians access the Internet, they spend time every few days on the Internet. The reality remains that the Internet is still not central to the lives of Indians.
My belief is that the Web that we have come to see around us is mostly built around reference, global information. The Web that is to become relevant to the lives of Indians needs to be focused on the now, new and near. I think of this as the N3 Web.
Here is a small excerpt from what I wrote recently: 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 N3 Web is a web that will be available primarily via mobiles. It is a Web that doesnt exist. It is a Web that has to be built.
Tomorrow: Reference and Incremental Webs
TECH TALK The Now-New-Near Web+T