Kevin Kelly on the Future of the Web: The World Wide Database

Great presentation from Kevin Kelly ([praized subtype=”small” pid=”9d3ee2214959dec2f68d97fb4c3d24fe” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”]) last week at the Web 2.0 Summit.  I’ve been a big big fan of Kelly ever since he wrote this blog post.

Kevin Kelly Web 2.0 Summit San Francisco November 2008

He starts by mentioning it’s been 6527 days since Tim Berners-Lee built his first Web page, marvels at the things we’ve accomplished and wonders what will happen in the next 6500 days.

He explains the various phases we went through.  Phase 1 of the Internet was all about linking computers together and sharing packets. Phase 2 was about linking pages (when the Web came along) and sharing links.  Phase 3, the next phase, will be about linking data. Linking to the information inside the page down to the elemental unit (what I often call “atomization). This new semantic Web will understand the meaning of words.  For example, “Pacifica” (a small town near San Francisco) is a place with attributes.

He calls it the “World Wide Database”, where you un-structure the information down to its elemental unit and then re-structure it.  By removing the structure of language, you make it machine readable.  Kelly says: “sharing data is intimate.  It’s much closer to us.”

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As for the next 6500 days, it’s definitely not going to be the “The web, only better”.  It’s going to be vastly different.  Everything is moving to the Cloud. He adds: “if you’re producing information and it’s not online and related and shared to everything else, it doesn’t count.”

Everything, all media, will be online. “Newspapers, print, videos, music, music, etc. will obey the same kind of laws.  If I show you a blank screen, you can’t tell me whether that’s going to show a movie, the Web, a game or TV” We will have one single inter-media platform, running on the same machine.

We’re moving to the Cloud, we’re moving to the Database and we’re moving to sharing. And it means life will be “always on”, we will see extreme dependence (because the connection makes us smarter), we will have extended self (not knowing exactly where we begin and where we end).  Finally, we will see the value of the collective where the individual will be able to shine but the collective work will be bigger than the individual.

You can see the video here.

Mary Meeker at Web 2.0 Summit: Top 8 Technology & Internet Trends

If, like me, you live on the bleeding edge of web technology, you will appreciate reading (and watching) Mary Meeker’s technology & internet trends presentation from this year’s Web 2.0 Summit. Her Powerpoint “decks” always sum up nicely everything that’s going on in our world.

Mary Meeker Web2Summit

Photograph copyright Pınar Özger

Her current technology trends:

  1. Tech stock performance strong reflecting future expectations – for now
  2. Consumer demand for Internet-enabled services / products is strong
  3. Innovation in wireless products is accelerating
  4. Storage needs continue to ramp
  5. Data center growth is robust
  6. Emerging markets pacing next wave of technology adoption
  7. Enterprises may be coming out of relative purchasing funk
  8. Recession(s) = very serious potential challenge

Her current internet trends:

  1. Strong Internet user growth – fastest in non-US markets
  2. Strong broadband growth – with more upside
  3. Search continues to improve as content access tool
  4. Ongoing share gains to online from offline – large markets to tap
  5. Turf wars increasing – core / emerging businesses + M&A
  6. High level Web 2.0 trends are compelling
  7. Software as a service (SaaS) momentum = strong + broad-based
  8. Emerging Internet-enabled devices gaining traction

More details can be found in the actual presentation document and you can watch her speech here.

Mary Meeker at Web 2.0 Summit: Top 8 Technology & Internet Trends

If, like me, you live on the bleeding edge of web technology, you will appreciate reading (and watching) Mary Meeker’s technology & internet trends presentation from this year’s Web 2.0 Summit. Her Powerpoint “decks” always sum up nicely everything that’s going on in our world.

Mary Meeker Web2Summit

Photograph copyright Pınar Özger

Her current technology trends:

  1. Tech stock performance strong reflecting future expectations – for now
  2. Consumer demand for Internet-enabled services / products is strong
  3. Innovation in wireless products is accelerating
  4. Storage needs continue to ramp
  5. Data center growth is robust
  6. Emerging markets pacing next wave of technology adoption
  7. Enterprises may be coming out of relative purchasing funk
  8. Recession(s) = very serious potential challenge

Her current internet trends:

  1. Strong Internet user growth – fastest in non-US markets
  2. Strong broadband growth – with more upside
  3. Search continues to improve as content access tool
  4. Ongoing share gains to online from offline – large markets to tap
  5. Turf wars increasing – core / emerging businesses + M&A
  6. High level Web 2.0 trends are compelling
  7. Software as a service (SaaS) momentum = strong + broad-based
  8. Emerging Internet-enabled devices gaining traction

More details can be found in the actual presentation document and you can watch her speech here.

Nokia N810: One Mean Local Search Machine

Nokia used the Web 2.0 Summit to launch their new Nokia N810 Internet tablet (specs here). Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Multimedia, took the stage to explain to us why it was a great device. I managed to capture in video the portion of his speech related specifically to local search.

Anssi Vanjoki Nokia N810 Web2Summit

What it means: portable computer + GPS + Linux-based open platform (built on Maemo) + Mozilla-based browser + wi-fi + potential integration of NavTEQ data = one mean local search machine… I’m really excited about that one! In related news, the New York Times has an article about GPS-enabled cell phones.

Why Topix Introduced User-Generated Content

I love that slide coming from Chris Tolles‘ Web 2.0 Summit presentation. Tolles is the CEO of Topix, a well-known hyperlocal news aggregator. It clearly shows why Topix decided to allow user-generated content in their site back in April.

Web2Summit Topix Chris Tolles

In it, he tries to extrapolate the number of daily local news stories coming out of traditional media outlets (newspapers, radio and local TV) and comes up with a grand total of 22,293. Given that there are about 43,000 zip codes in the US, this means every zip code gets 0.5 stories per day on average. Not much if you’re trying to build zip-code driven news aggregator. Smart move.

Three Reasons Why Videogames are more Fun than Real Life

At the Web 2.0 Summit this morning, Jane McGonigal, Lead Game Designer at the Institute for the Future explained to us the reasons why virtual life (in video games, MMORPG and virtual worlds) is more fun than real life.

  1. Better instructions. Videogames offer a clear path to achieving the main goals. People have tested out the ways to succeed and they share their experience with others.
  2. Better feedback. You have scores and various success metrics. You have a sense of how your actions are impacting the game and you can show off. Real life does not have the same kind of audience to your various successes.
  3. Better community. In a game, we all share the same mythology and we agree to the same narrative, the same roles. There is a heroic sense of purpose.

Web2Summit Jane McGonigal

She forecast two directions in the future: keep making games that are more and more immersive and realistic or make reality feel more like a game. She thinks the second option is in the zeitgeist and listed some examples:

Steve Ballmer: How Do We Get 25% of Our Revenues in Advertising

In a conversation with John Battelle this morning at the Web 2.0 Summit, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, disclosed the four things Microsoft will need to do if they want to reach their goal of having 25% of their revenues coming from advertising in the future.

  1. Do search well
  2. Be good at community and communications
  3. Have a strong advertising platform that delivers all payloads in all media compatible with all business models
  4. Have ads you sell on behalf of other people.

Web2Summit Steve Ballmer John Battelle

What it means: I was listening to Ballmer’s list and I quickly realized this sounded very close to what local search experts (like The Kelsey Group or Greg Sterling) have been suggesting to directory publishers in the last couple of years: build a better local search destination, leverage the sales force to sell a variety of ad products and launch social tools. Is Microsoft a potential partner for directory publishers or will it be seen as a competitor?