Monday, September 13, 2004

A long time ago (I think in the late 90s), there was all this talk going around how internet is going to change the world.

If you ask a dozen people what on the internet has changed their lives the most and name some names they would probably come out with three or four: Google, Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo & iTunes. Well, five years ago, Google was just beginning, and Ebay & Amazon were still not what they are today and it would have been Napster instead of iTunes.

Anyway, at that time, when all this talk was going around, one question that had popped into my head was: "What are the things you can do on the internet that you cannot do in the real world?"

And at that time, I didn't have any answers. Yes, there's a lot more communication happening because of the internet but is anything changing fundamentally?

Slowly, over the past few years I notice the real change happening. And it has to do with only two things - sharing and whittling information fast. And one seems to be tied to the other. Somehow, as more and more people share information, the whole becomes more than the sum of it's parts as links appear out of nowhere. Napster was the harbinger of bigger things to come.

As communication goes up, information sharing increases. Different organisations from the paleolithic era are trying to catch up with these technologies and are throwing everything they can get their hands on. Fortunately, they're losing.

Today, I came across another such beautiful example. A way of solving a number of problems at one shot.

One of the biggest problems I have when I move from computer to computer, is my 'Bookmarks' sections (or 'Favourites' for those using Internet Explorer). Every time I move to a new PC, I have to set them up all over again or import from my old PC. The bigger problem of not being able to use them when I'm on a public computer was to far out to be even considered! solves this wonderfully. You register yourself, and from wherever you are, on whatever PC you're using, public or private, you can add and get to your bookmarks.

This, of course, is extremely, extremely, useful. But this is just the first step.

What also does is show how many other people share the same bookmark and you can view other's bookmarks as well! This might seem crazy at first, but as soon as you start using it, you realise how useful this is. You can get to more relevant information faster as you browser through other's categories which has the same bookmark as yours.

It's like pooling or resources and the overall outcome being more fruitful than all the individuals working independantly.

This has been done for internet radio as well, which provides a way you can select your type of music being broadcast by numerous people out there.

A similar thing happening on the internet telephony side is being done by Skype.

I think the true internet revolution is just beginning and it's happening in the background. As more and more people gain access to this wonderful medium this is going to become more valuable to each and every person dipping their toes in it!


At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, there are changes they are just for the worse.

It makes it easier for your companies to monitor their employees and customers and intrude into their lives, and to outsource many jobs to countries with much cheaper labor and thereby destroy entire industries.

Things like this are scary because they only aid in creating you as an identity/ online entity which can be monitored for good or ill and marketed to or even arrested for that matter.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger abhijit said...

Just use a different online id!


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