The Future of the Web
The future of the web is so bright, not only do you have to wear shades, but you have to also wear fire retardant clothing just to keep up with the rapid pace of change, without igniting yourself.
I say this because when I think back to when I started working for an SEO firm how different it was then.
For example, you only needed one version of a website, but it had to be compatible with 2 browsers – IE and Netscape. If your site worked with them then you were ok.
Now, the site has to be compatible with many more, plus its a good idea to have a site compatible with smaller screens like a cell phone.
Plus there are more options out there for building the site – no longer is it just HTML. More dynamic languages like PHP and ASP are growing in popularity because of their ability to dynamically serve content.
When I started we submitted to between 8 and 10 search engines, now you don’t even have to submit. The crawlers have gotten so advanced in recent years that they can just find your site.
To give you an example, I have a website that I’m hoping to launch soon. It’s a part time project but one I hope to make money on in the future. Because it’s still in development no one knows about it except my business partners and I. So imagine my surprise when, upon looking at the log analysis report, I saw that Googlebot had visited not once by three times over the course of 2 days.
So of course I asked the partners who said they had no idea how it got there. They haven’t even shown the site to family or friends yet. Yet somehow Google managed to find it.
When I started in this industry, Altavista was the big engine and Google was the geek’s engine. Sure it was good, but all it did was show results – there was no ads or even pictures. Just search.
As mentioned earlier, you only had to ensure compatibility with IE or Netscape because while IE had 95% of the market share AOL’s Netscape was still the browser of choice for many AOL users. And since AOL was important then, you had to make sure your site was compatible.
When I began, you could submit a site to the Open Directory (in fact you HAD to submit the site there in order to gain in popularity from the engines) and it would likely get added in a month or so. Three months at the outside.
Back then broadband internet was still fairly new. Only about 15% of American’s had broadband in their homes. Today the number is closer to 70%.
Cell phones were still pretty large and expensive. Not the really large ones that weighed 10 pounds (15 with the extended life battery) but they were still pretty big. In fact digital phones were still relatively new and most people still had analog phones. Now most if not all are digital or better, and small enough to fit in your pocket.
And forget about things like wi-fi – that wasn’t around then.
You couldn’t search via your cell phone to find the closest restaurant or pizza joint. You still had to whip out the Yellow Pages and perform your search that way.
And that’s just compared to today – in the next two to five years we will see even more inovation.
As Microsoft attempts to finally catch up to its competitors on the web, companies like Google are trying to take more of the Desktop.
Social networking will continue to grow as more and more companies try to figure out ways to connect us like never before.
Imagine a fully web based system where you could access it many ways (such as a computer, cell phone or blackberry) and be able to instantly know who in your network is not only online, but could be physically near as well. You will also be able to connect to people with similar interests, with you’ve never met.
It seems like quite the paradigm, as the web becomes wireless more companies are trying to find more ways to connect us.
No longer will email be the preffered way to stay in contact. Soon your wireless device will be able to connect to a wireless hub or hot-spot and communicate through the internet to others locally or around the globe.
In other words, if you wanted to make a cellular phone call from New York to London, your phone would connect to the tower or local hot spot and switch to VOIP to complete the call. There will be little or no cost to you as everything goes through the web.
In addition we will be able to do more with the web. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have to be near a computer that has my preferred applications in case I need to spit out a word doc or tweak a powerpoint.
Imagine a world where the applications reside in cyberspace. Now not only can you store your documents and pictures online, you can also edit them from there as well on any number of internet ready devices.
The nice thing with this system is that because its built on the open standards of the web, it will be natively cross-platform compatible. It doesn’t matter if you use the latest version of Windows, or your web enabled PDA – the documents will look and feel the same.
And of course the common theme through all of this will be advertising. After all if a company like Google is going to build this system (and I think they are well on their way to doing so) they are going to want to monetize it some way – and that way is ads.
And to be honest, if I have to put up with a few text ads to have the convenience of web enabled applications that I can access anytime from anywhere, I will.
I think that compared to the business that happens online today, in the future this will seem like a pitance.
As people figure out more and more ways to monetize the web, it will happen. Soon there will be more sales completed online than in businesses. To me it’s much more convenient to be able to sit at my computer in my house coat at 2 AM and buy anything, from socks to plasma TV’s, when I want, rather than having to wait until business hours and get dressed to go out.
There are many reasons for this – first the technology is getting better. You can set up an open source based e-commerce site for next to nothing. The newer systems today are able to fully process the order, including the purchase transaction, with no need for third party applications.
Right now I can electronically transfer funds from my local bank account into my PayPal account and have it instantly available in many other currencies to 56 countries around the world. And if the amount is large enough it doesn’t cost me a dime to perform the transfer.
Soon I expect we will have all our financial transactions available to those many devices we have. Imagine the security of being able to purchase something and authorizing the payment by wirelessly transmitting the money via your cell phone to the vendors bank. No more debit cards to replace, no PIN numbers to memorize, and therefore no worry of ATM fraud.
I truly believe the increased usage of wireless technology will make the internet essential to our daily lives. And with more wireless devices, more opportunities arise for the future.