We perceive Internet as something global and consistent. But is it?
In early years online was even field. Users were close in age, tech-savvy on same level and visiting same few sites. Since then it all went uphill.
English is language of international communication. Still increasing number of Internet users can easily put English out of favor - it is estimated to be only forth language by number of native speakers.
Photo by tinou bao.
Can ease of worldwide communication can still be achieved if you can’t be sure other party speaks the same language you do? There is a lot of research going for achieving correct real time translation. Still not there.
YouTube is one of the sites you hear about very often. To numerous Internet users it is limited to hearing about. Being on dialup or other low-speed connection effectively cuts you of any modern online services that require fast connection.
Photo by The Pack.
Annual growth of traffic creates reaction from Internet providers unwilling to invest in hardware. Balance of service and bandwidth consumption will be reached sooner or later. Question is – will it land on acceptable level and what amount of innovative services will be cut off.
Getting on that first page of Google is a dream for many. Only that first page no longer exists. It was fractured into numerous first pages that try to suit every user personally. Results you get are influenced by localized version of Google page you are using, your geographical location and your previous searches history (if you are logged in with Google account). Same with advertisement you are getting online from Google or others.
Photo by sue clark98.
It’s not unnatural for international companies to route visitors for local version of their portals. It would worked fine if local version weren’t poorly translated shadows of main version and running on broken badly adapted code.
There is more and more services that struggle to outright restrict usage to certain geography. Which brings us to next issue.
Networks over networks
Action creates reaction. When there is wall to breach there are minds to think about it. Restrictions that appear in Internet inspire creation of networks running above Internet. Virtual private network concepts are adapted to provide anonymizing and file-sharing services. Browsing is done through complex onion routing setups. Peer to peer evolves into heavily encrypted darknets with restricted access.
Image by vitroids.
Parts of open Internet system slowly turn into black boxes.
Content breaking free
Whole idea behind latest generation of markup languages like XHTML, XML and RSS was to separate content from presentation. For simplicity and quality was implied, for content escaping from site was result.
Photo by Vinay Deep.
RSS is perfect format to use with desktop readers which make process of receiving and sorting updates easier. But in reality over 70% of my subscribers read my feed online using services like Google Reader. Think about it – people go to one web site to read content from another.
I can easily imagine services providing pure content without even having a site to display it. Instead of looking for Internet parts that suit your taste Internet will be matched and mashed up trying to serve you easily digested and advertising-friendly content. Seen Google News?
Are you sure you are seeing same Internet others are?
Texas Wanderer #