Convergence

Web 2.0 and the Future of Pervasive Computing

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's 2005 (Not 1999)

I read an interesting post today on Fred's blog regarding the current excitement in the valley. Many folks believe that we are in 1999. I disagree. When I last checked my calendar it was 2005.

In 2005 the web is not new. There are a billion people online. Kids do not explain what the differences between the desktop and browser to their parents. Parents "google" on their own. It no longer requires massive investment to create a web-based service, 3 guys and a dream can do it with a couple credit cards. There is no doubt that web-based companies can make money. Web-based service providers such as Google now have super-powers like Microsoft scrambling to keep pace.

In 2005, the web is no longer regarded as a mechanism for publication. The web is transforming into a platform for services. Traditional applications, once bound to the desktop, are being supplanted. People do not wonder if applications will move to the web, they wonder when. Services are no longer viewed in isolation, but as a single cohesive computing experience centered around people. Information sharing is no longer a feature--it is a
requirement. The bottom line is that, in 2005, we are experiencing a paradigm shift.

We also experienced a paradigm shift in 1999. Yes, the paradigm shift we experienced in 1999 also involved the Internet. And yes, many of the same business models that were supposed to change the world have resurfaced. Does that mean that the circumstances are the same? Most certainly not. Computing is cheap, broadband is ubiquitous and our culture has changed. Some ideas that did not make sense in 1999, make more sense now. Do people question the utility of laptops, despite the fact that Osbourne computer failed to release the first wave? Do people question the utility of hand-helds despite the fact that the Apple Newton tanked? No.

Although the dot-com boom undoubtedly was not meant to last, the results of this exciting time changed the world. Accordingly, the results of the Web 2.0 phenomenon will rock the very foundations of our notions of computing. To those in the investment community balking at this change just remember, "A big wave carries a lot of surfboards."

You can't avoid Web 2.0. It is coming. So have fun and try to make some money!

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