Much of the Web that we see around us is the Reference Web. The content is mostly static. Pretty much anything digital will be accessible to us at our fingertips if it is not already so. It is like being in a large digital library. Millions of websites have aggregated all kinds of information and made it available for anyone to use mostly for free. More than a decade of enhancements in publishing technology have also made it simple for users to add to the treasure trove thats already out there.
For a long time, the Reference Web was mostly about text and images. This is now changing. Bandwidth improvements are now making it easy to access multimedia content. YouTube has become the worlds largest repository of short-form video content. Most of the media houses are now also starting to make available their video libraries. The longer form of video content TV shows and movies are also slowly getting out on the Internet, as content owners realise that the costs to make them available are small compared to the potential for monetisation (largely through advertising).
The content in the world wide web is primarily designed for accessing on a big screen and hence the PC is the window into that web.
In contrast, the Live Web is the Web that is incremental in space, time and topics. I also think of this as the Now-Near Web (the N3 Web). It is about here and now, the real-time event stream. It is just getting created and used. This is a Web that needs to have almost instantaneous publishing and distribution capabilities. It is about knowing what my friends are doing now, it is about knowing the traffic on the route that I am about to take, it is about knowing whats happening in my neighbourhood today evening.
The data-enabled mobile is and will continue to be at the core of the Live Web. Because the Live Web is about immediacy, there is no other option. Mobiles are two-way devices enabling us to publish as well as consume, both text and rich media. As wireless data networks become faster and cheaper, use of mobiles for sensing the world around us will grow.
If the underlying plumbing for the Reference Web is in the form of HTML documents being pulled by users, then it is RSS being syndicated to users that is at the heart of the Live Web. And this means the primary way we interact with the two Webs will be different shifting from Search to Subscription.
Tomorrow: From Search to Subscription
TECH TALK The Emerging Internet+T