TECH TALK: The Now-New-Near Web: Characteristics (Part 2)

More Mobile-centric, less PC-centric: I believe that mobiles are what will accelerate the emergence of the N3 Web both for content creation and consumption. Mobiles are with us all the time, and thus can be used both for creation (taking pictures, recording podcasts) and distribution (think subscribers). RSS can be the underlying carrier for this. The same can be accomplished via PCs and in fact is already happening. In the context of emerging markets, mobiles will take centre-stage.

More Push, less Pull: The Reference Web is all about pulling information in a request-reply mechanism. The Incremental Web is about delivering the right information at the right time to the right device. Thus, I can get an SMS alert when a stock price crosses a threshold or when Tendulkar comes out to bat. Sending the same info to a PC or asking people to keep reloading the page is simply not practical.

Distributed, Bottom-up Publishing: The N3 Web is about empowering each one of us to publish because we have the tools to do so. Since much of this web is non-existent, the only way it will get created rapidly is with mass publishing.

User in control: With RSS, the user is in control. There is no question of any spam. If a user is not interesting in continuing the relationship, the user can simply unsubscribe to the RSS feed of the source.

RSS Aggregator Use: The N3 Web will be consumed in two primary ways via alerts delivered to mobiles or PCs, and via an RSS Aggregator. The aggregator tracks what subscriptions users have, and what has been read by a user.

Ping Server, not Crawler: From an infrastructure standpoint, the web page crawlers get replaced by ping servers. Whenever there is new content published, the source pings a server which can then go fetch the new content and then notify users.

The post by Bill Burnham also elaborates on the infrastructure needed:

1. Ping Servers: Most blogs and an increasing number of other sites now send special pings to so called Ping Servers every time they publish new content. The ping servers do things such as cue crawlers at a search engine to re-index a site or provide a summarized list of recently published information to other web sites. Because ping servers are the first to know about newly published content, they are critical to enabling the real-time nature of Persistent Search.

2. RSS: RSS feeds can be used both to feed raw information into Persistent Search platforms (in a similar fashion to what GoogleBase does) as well as to take processed queries out. RSS is a polling based mechanism so it does not provide real time notification, but it is good enough in most cases.

3. Stored Queries: Stored queries are simply search queries that are saved for future use. Ideally, the stored query is constantly running in the background and it flags any new piece of content that meets the search criteria.
Two related concepts which will help us understand the N3 Web better are microcontent and microformats.

Tomorrow: Microcontent and Microformats

TECH TALK The Now-New-Near Web+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.