There won’t be a ‘next version of the Web’

The end of the Web Search and ComputerIn an excellent post on Wired, David Gelernter makes the argument that we’re approaching The End of the Web, Search and Computer as We Know It. In what sounds like a science-fiction statement, Gelernter says that,  “The space-based web we currently have will be gradually replaced by a time-based worldstream.”

We have evidence of what he’s saying in our daily lives. The connected world is steadily moving from an Internet based on the ideas of Gutenberg-era printing and distribution (space-based) into a world that breaks those awkward boundaries and is more about real-time feeds from the places we personally select…a worldstream. It is reality arriving through filters of our choice.

Space and time

Gelernter also brings up the remarkable observation that we’ve gone from an Internet of scarcity (bandwidth, screen size) to an Internet of plenty. That allows us move, “…from conserving resources ingeniously to squandering them creatively.” It allows us to move from being technicians of bits and bytes to being orchestra directors of rich content.

But even more, this creativity allows time to become more important than space:

And today, the most important function of the internet is to deliver the latest information, to tell us what’s happening right now. That’s why so many time-based structures have emerged in the cybersphere: to satisfy the need for the newest data. Whether tweet or timeline, all are time-ordered streams designed to tell you what’s new.

We’re leaving the static world started on papyrus and entering a world that is a constant data stream on that can be paused for a moment or allowed to ‘run’ continually. It changes everything. As the author brilliantly says, people no longer want to be connected to computers or specific websites…they want to tune in to information.

This puts social, mobile, cloud, data and integration in a whole new light.

The Crunchies missed it

IMG_1722Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg received only a nomination and not an award this week at the Crunchies in San Francisco for Best Design for their Facebook Timeline. (Zuck won for CEO of the Year, though). Frankly, who’s to argue with the success of Facebook, but the award show missed the tectonic shift that Facebook brought with Timeline. Maybe there just wasn’t the right category.

Facebook showed us the end of Web, Search and computers as we know it.

Main photo credit: Dane Vetter,, Secondary photo credit: Chris Taylor

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Categories: Information Technology, Real-time

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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One Comment on “There won’t be a ‘next version of the Web’”

  1. February 3, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    It reminds me of the piece I wrote about how social is changing the way we chronicle history and access it (

    If indeed the shift is moving from a static web to real-time streams we “subscribe” to then there’s massive implications. Twitter has already proved itself time after time as the “pulse of the planet”, a label well deserved, and how we work in an organisation will change too.

    No more dashboards, no more buckets of work to process, no more call routing, it’ll all be a stream of information, data, work, process. You control the tap.

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