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.
In India, the large base of mobile phones and the excellent mobile data infrastructure create the right foundation for building the N3 Web arguably, better than most other countries in the world. In India, our lives are being increasingly centred around the mobile. We can leave home with anything but not without the mobile. Our phones are not subsidised by the operators and so, we want to buy the best phones that we can afford because they are an extension of our identity. Even in tier 2 or tier 3 towns, it is not the cheapest phones that are the largest sellers people have a tendency to buy better phones because they are a very visible part of the body.
The mobile data infrastructure in India is amongst the best in the world, as noted previously. There are, however, two issues. The first is that for the most part it is a well-kept secret by the mobile operators. Their focus has been primarily on market expansion rather than leveraging mobile data services. The second related point is that the pricing for mobile data leaves much to be desired and limits consumer offtake. What India needs is not just zero-GPRS rentals but also flat-rate pricing options for data. I believe that both will happen within the next 12-18 months.
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.
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