Project Management

Analyzing 10 future trends of the Web


I came across an article at ReadWriteWeb.com by Richard MacManus and thought it would make a delightful read for the TechRepublic community. Here's a summary of the article and my additional thoughts on how the trends will probably span out.

Semantic Web

It's Tim Bernes Lee's dream of a Web where a meta data layer exists for all data on the Web, which essentially enables machines to communicate. The possibilities are immense with many meaning-based search engines, such as Hakia.com and Powerset, waiting to cash in on the new Web. There are also companies like Applied Semantics (acquired by Google, which claims it isn't into semantics), Ontoprise, and Inxight that are getting semantic products ready.

Artificial Intelligence

These two words have been the "in-and-out" buzz since the early days of computing. But here, the only trend that I see in the future is more "unintelligent" methods getting implemented to an extent that seem to mimic intelligence. Intelligence is a far call. My basic argument is that intelligence is the product of the human mind, and unless we unravel the human mind completely, we can only construct machines that mimic human activity.

Virtual worlds

This is one real hot area in the future of the Web. With enhanced graphics and immersive worlds, social interactions in the virtual world will see lot of growth. The future may hold virtual worlds as an extension to the social networks as we know them today.

Mobile

Today is the age of the mega-phones and the future is bound to have better and more powerful gadgets that could make the desktop obsolete. Mobiles top my list of trend centers to watch out for. Apart from mega-storage capacities and power processors, innovative UI features will be uber-cool. The iPhone is just a little indication of that trend.

Attention economy

The attention economy has been thriving since the Web began., and it will gain more dominance as services get exclusively planned for people's attention. Your attention will become a more marketable commodity with services coming as an incentive. This is the trend that has made Google what it is today, and definitely more companies are going to make the shift.

Web sites as Web services

Both on the enterprise side and the consumer side, Web services are fast gaining momentum. This is another reason why I think the desktop is bound to fade out. More and more content will be accessible off the Net. Issues relating to data privacy are the only thorns in the way.

Rich Internet applications

Adobe, Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla Foundation have all indicated towards incorporating features that merge the desktop and the Web to give users "Web-tops," which are applications that seamlessly run off the Web with offline features that ensure a smooth experience rather than a disconnected reality.

Internationalization

The Web will be more global with sufficient innovations and contributions coming from across the world. Another trend in internationalization will be more links between governments and the Internet, as more services become accessible via the Web, and also in governments realizing the repercussions of the Web as a power tool.

Online video / Internet TV

Online video is the most visible trend in this generation of the Internet. The future will see better quality content with more power compression being delivered at faster speeds. Content searching will become more pronounced (and it will be way more accurate than meta-tag searching).

Personalization

This is one area where there are two stark possibilities. One is what I call the "iGoogle-way," with service providers hunting for more and more data on users for targeted services. The other trend is where a set of services will be available that do not rely on user-specific data. A few search engines are already touting themselves as highly relevant and at the same time user agnostic. Also, the dismal support in the Internet's architecture for security will have a heavy effect on how user data is made available for personalized services.

How do you see the future of the Web shaping up?

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19 comments
gabrielbear
gabrielbear

imho there's a difference between i/t services and the paradign of the "web". i've got some comments http://bridgesolution.com/news/ about what all this means to the end user, who oddly enough is still a customer for perceived value, and those who try to draw a trendline out more than a week from now.

dfgsdfgsdf
dfgsdfgsdf

It's strange you think one can "analyze" a thing in merely three or four sentences. "Rehashing" maybe.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

AI, haven't even got close to it yet. What's called AI now is an expert system with a bit of fuzzy logic thrown on top. As for rich internet applications, another oxymoron. They are either crap, or client side and allways will be when they run over Http because it's stateless.

MrEddie
MrEddie

The biggest trend will be distance learning but using tools like keyboard pressure/typing speed algorithms and facial/voice pattern recognition software to be sure the people taking the lessons are who they are supposed to be.

Elvis.Is.Alive
Elvis.Is.Alive

The referenced link doesn't work (at least at the time of this message). Maybe that would be a good trend: More reliable communication and content providers? :)

ITSecurityGuy
ITSecurityGuy

just before and again after your post.

pr.arun
pr.arun

Social categorization of data weighing out content ... the next trend? :)

AttentionDyslexic
AttentionDyslexic

based on experience in Higher Education, alot of what is spoke about in this article is availble now and being used by the younger generation. It's not a case of will this be the future - it's already being requested with universitys all over the UK (and I'm guessing further afield) having to keep up with the demands of it's students in order to 'speak' their language.

ITSecurityGuy
ITSecurityGuy

would have taught you to say "what is spoken". It would have been even better to say "what is discussed in this article". Thus, you could have avoided using a "preposition (about) to end a phrase with". ;-) Better punctuation, spelling and matching pronouns would be nice, too. It's much easier to read: It's not a case of "Will this be the future?" - it's already being requested, with universitIES ... having to keep up with the demands of THEIR students, in order to 'speak' their language. (NOTE THE SEPARATION OF PHRASES BY THE ADDED COMMAS.) Even if "its" were the proper pronoun for the plural "universities' (students)", it's only spelled with an apostrophe when it's used as I just did. And I thought the students were there to learn to speak the English language properly, among their other studies.

AttentionDyslexic
AttentionDyslexic

Whilst I respect the right of others to criticise my grammar and spelling, please note I'm dyslexic and therefore have issues with this so don't appreciate you highlighting this fact to all and sundry. (Note:I can speak it fluently, my problem is with written english) Also, is there not such a thing as a typo! I meant to write spoken but missed the n off! Anyways, as you can see I've updated my profile so I don't get anymore visits from the Spelling and Grammar Police.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

you would have addressed the points and not worried so much about the presentation.

billkitchen
billkitchen

It's called Webucation and there are some amazing products and opportunities. Just check wealthsolutions101.com and you will see these amazing educational courses and we will see good strong courses which will change people and WEB use NOW!

pr.arun
pr.arun

Do you agree with the synopsis of the trends of the future?

fatsavage
fatsavage

I could make a strong argument that the web will develop much like Radio and Television where it started in a libertine manner and eventually came under government control to allocate resources and control the content. This will be driven by the need to provide users security, make publishers responsible for their content and predatory actions and fears about privicy issues. Big Business will not fight restrictions as they can afford the cost of compliance and the documentation to prove that their viewpoint is responsible and their content reliable. Individual content providers will either join major content networks or be relegated to an amateur band with high entry barriers as is true in amateur radio and television. Moreover, the content of the amateur band will regulated for seditious or amoral content or activity. Most net users will admit that there is plenty of misleading and false information on the web as self serving authors and editors defend their right to publish crap on their own sites and on every public wiki and blog they can find. In the end, idle dreamers can think about what might of or could have been while ignorant politicians regulate the reality.

pr.arun
pr.arun

This is a great insight fatsavage@. As governments begins to notice the influence that the net can have, the steps to arrest control can be made. The difference I feel is that the entry barriers on the net are very low, which may be one reason why it may not be that simple to formulate methods to bring in control, but again, you never know...

stephberg
stephberg

> This is another reason why I think the > desktop is bound to fade out. More and > more content will be accessible off the > Net. Issues relating to data privacy are > the only thorns in the way. Personally, I really don't see that coming... like the paperless office. The speed, security and overall convenience of desktop applications just cannot be replicated on the Web. The exception for me is with collaborative workflows where apps like BaseCamps make a lot of sense. For the general user, not so much. Data is becomeing too valuable to leave it up to the administrators of remote servers or networks. Plus, the privacy issues are not only a thorn in the side of this trend but a downright spike. Until the basic internet protocols (TC/IP, etc) are made a LOT more secure AND the average user has access to high-spee/broadband connections, I really don't see the day when Web apps can replace desktop applications. The other area when net based solutions could be very viable is off-site storage/backup of large amounts of data... and this is exactly where the privacy and speed issues hurt the most. IMO...

pr.arun
pr.arun

With several web app software available that are providing free and well as paid services, atleast or the small businesses and individuals , the web office is more or less a reality. The issue of security is a great point you made. The Internet was never started out as a communication medium that could scale to the size it is today. Initially it was just a medium for researchers to collaborate and hence the detailing on the security aspect. Infact, Vinton Cerf, one of the inventors of the TCP/IP protocol has long commented that the Internet's architecture will have to undergo a major overhaul sooner or later with a view on incorporating higher security measures. But again the issues if compatibility and whether such a major change over can be done effectively is another issue to worry about.

CG IT
CG IT

I don't believe that web based applications will be cost effective for the average joe consumer and not only that but security concerns will keep the average joe having a desktop. For large businesses, definately a very large cost benefit for web based applications. I also think that "the latest and greatest" or the "most hip" marketing only works with the younger tech users. The older tech users actually know that "the latest and greatest" or "most hip" is nothing more than a sales ploy to get one to buy a product one probably doesn't need anyways. So, web based applications will be hip as it's new, but again for small business or the average joe consumer, not something they can afford or something they wish to use out of concerns for security.

pr.arun
pr.arun

Web apps are more easily being adopted by the smaller businesses. Its actually this segment that web app makers are ferociously targeting since the big enterprises have already invested heavily in the desktop app licenses and technologies. Its the small/med size businesses that really stand to face an advantage. Already you have sites such as zoho.com, the google apps that are free for use and all you need is a net connection to virtually maintain all your documents and spreadsheets.

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