The Future of the Internet Is Flow
About a week ago, I came across this very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about the Internet, and where the Web is going. The authors stated that The Web was a brilliant first shot at making the Internet usable, but it backed the wrong horse. It chose space over time. The conventional website is “space-organized,” like a patterned beach towel—pineapples upper left, mermaids lower right. Websites are divided the same among the web (hence it’s a web). Instead it might have been “time-organized,” like a parade—first this band, three minutes later this float, 40 seconds later that band, like a river flowing by.
So let’s skip the theory and see how this goes into practice. The authors argue that your future home page—the screen you go to first on your phone, laptop or TV— will be a bouquet of your favorite streams from all over. News streams are blended with shopping streams, blogs, your friends’ streams, each running at its own speed. This home stream includes your personal stream as part of the blend—emails, documents and so on. Your home stream is just one tiny part of the world stream. You can see your home stream in 3-D on your laptop or desktop, in constant motion on your phone or as a crawl on your big TV.
By watching one stream, you watch the whole world—all the public and private events you care about. To keep from being overwhelmed, you adjust each stream’s flow rate when you add it to your collection. The system slows a stream down by replacing many entries with one that lists short summaries—10, 100 or more.
An all-inclusive home stream creates new possibilities. You could build a smartwatch to display the stream as it flows past. It could tap you on the wrist when there’s something really important on-stream. You can set something aside or rewind if necessary. Just speak up to respond to messages or add comments. True in-car computing becomes easy. Because your home stream gathers everything into one line, your car can read it to you as you drive.
Does this sound familiar? Well it should a bit. The current Facebook wall/timeline, or Twitter is a great example of this theory put into practice. So let’s imagine this but fully integrated into our lives. No more checking e-mails, its right in that stream, no more browsing for news, but the news is delivered right to you. What are the implications for current information strategies?
My idea of this:
I think the near future will hold platforms such as Facebook or Google+ for the “stream”. People already more and more only use these pages to access the articles and updates they want. Fancy Tweakers.net? Follow it on Facebook and you’ll receive updates sending you to their website. Those are the suppliers: Websites for news, shopping and much more. The University MyEUR integrated into your stream, no need to get into the hassle of logging in on MyEUR but they will just post important things on your stream.
So there we are, with a platform, suppliers and users. What if we stop forwarding from Facebook to a certain website but display that News-item right onto your stream? Who makes the revenue? Probably, Facebook will provide the needed adverts onto the stream, giving a share of the profit to the suppliers of the stream. Another possibility is the Freemium model, want to pay for the stream? Pay 10 euros a month and no advertising. Just like Spotify, a similar pay-per-stream model might be suitable. With smart-watches and phones the need for more efficient display of information increases.
Do you guys have any thoughts on this? Where are we heading?
Author: Hidde van Heijst
“The Future of the Internet Is Flow”, the Wall Street Journal, 2nd of October 2015. David Galernter & Eric Freeman. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-future-of-the-internet-is-flow-1443796858